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The Human Rights Act 1998 was one of the first pieces of legislation passed by New Labour. Some ministers believe that it is the greatest thing that they have done, whereas others view it as a dangerous mistake. This volume explains what the Act is about, where it fits into Britain's constitutional tradition, and explores whether or not it has achieved its goals.
The Act has now been in force for three years, and a large body of case law has built up around it. The Act has enjoyed its fair share of controversies and has produced its own range of disappointments. It has become part and parcel of law courses in all universities, and has attracted the attention of practitioners from all areas of practice. It is now part of Britain's constitutional furniture, of interest and relevance not only to lawyers but also to political scientists, contemporary
historians, and the general public.
This book takes a fresh look at the place of the Human Rights Act in Britain's constitutional order. It locates the measure in its political and historical context and analyses the case law from the perspective not only of principle but also of practical experience. It examines the effect of the Act, and provides the reader with the tools to make informed predictions on the likely outcome of cases.
C. Gearty is Rausing Director of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights, and Professor of Human Rights Law, London School of Economics and Political Science. He is a founder member of Matrix Chambers, from where he continues to practice law.