British judges could no longer be 'bound' by ECHR decisions

Freedom from European human rights rulings: British judges could no longer be ‘bound’ by ECHR decisions under Government proposals being backed by senior lawyers and Scotland Yard

  • The European Convention on Human Rights is currently enshrined in British law
  • Critics say Strasbourg-based court roamed beyond remit and created new rights
  • But new proposals gaining traction could now see a curb on its influence

British judges could soon be told they are no longer ‘bound’ by decisions made in European rulings on human rights amid Government proposals being backed by senior lawyers and Scotland Yard. 

The European Convention on Human Rights is currently enshrined in British law by the Human Rights Act but has become increasingly unpopular with many Conservatives.

It is often cited by people fighting legal deportation and critics say the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights – which is entirely separate from the EU – has roamed far beyond its remit and created new rights that were never intended by its founders.


Justice Secretary Robert Buckland (left) is thought to be ‘sympathetic’ to the idea and leading human rights QC Lord Pinnick (right) is among those in support of the new proposals

The EU went into the Brexit trade talks warning that it would end all ‘law enforcement co-operation and judicial co-operation in criminal matters’ if the UK were to ‘denounce the ECHR’.

But new proposals being supported by MPs and senior lawyers as well as the Metropolitan Police could now see a curb on the ECHR’s influence.

Leading human rights QC Lord Pinnick is among those in support of the new proposals which could be the first review of the Human Rights Act in 20 years, The Telegraph has said.

He has suggested ministers amend the Human Rights Act to state that British judges ‘shall not be bound’ by decisions taken in Strasbourg and should instead only take ECHR rulings ‘into account’.

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland, who commissioned the Independent Human Rights Act Review to start its inquiry in December, is also thought to be ‘sympathetic’ to the idea, the publication said.

Critics say the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights (pictured) – which is entirely separate from the EU – has roamed far beyond its remit and created new rights that were never intended by its founders

The findings will be issued in the coming months.

The Met Police had previously warned that recent ECHR judgments meant officers had wasted time investigating cases that would ‘never reach the threshold for prosecution’ due to concern victims could later make a complaint.    

It is thought that the move will be backed by other senior Tories who believe European judgements in cases that have little relevance on UK matters have wrongly been influencing the decisions of British judges. 

The Tories promised in their manifestos at the 2010 and 2015 elections that they would scrap the Human Rights Act and replace it with a British Bill of Rights.

Before the 2019 election, Mr Johnson also promised to ‘update the Human Rights Act and administrative law to ensure that there is a proper balance between the rights of individuals, our vital national security and effective government’. 

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