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date: 30 November 2023

p. 46918. Human Rights II: Emergent Principleslocked

p. 46918. Human Rights II: Emergent Principleslocked

  • Ian LovelandIan LovelandProfessor of Public Law, City, University of London


This chapter presents an overview of the European Convention on Human Rights, an International treaty originating in the reconstruction of Europe’s political order following World War II. The chapter is organised as follows. Section I discusses the main procedural and substantive features of the Convention itself, whilst Section II assesses its status and use in English law up until (approximately) the early-1990s. Section III examines the leading judgments of the European Court on Human Rights in the areas of privacy and freedom of expression. The chapter goes on to consider how the UK constitution’s approach to the issue of civil liberties and human started to change in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Discussion focuses initially on the ways in which domestic courts began to use common law ideas to give increasing effect to the Convention’s provisions. The chapter then examines emerging arguments as to the benefits that might result from Parliament enacting a statute giving Convention articles a superior status to common law rules. The chapter then discusses the re-emergence and consolidation of fundamental human rights as an indigenous principle within the common law, and concludes by analysing the so-called ‘judicial supremacism’ controversy of the early and mid-1990s in which the courts’ increasingly forceful assertion of human rights ideas provoked substantial criticism from Conservative party politicians.

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