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The United Kingdom's Statutory Bill of RightsConstitutional and Comparative Perspectives$
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Roger Masterman and Ian Leigh

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265376

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265376.001.0001

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The Human Rights Act, Dialogue and Constitutional Principles

The Human Rights Act, Dialogue and Constitutional Principles

(p.25) 2 The Human Rights Act, Dialogue and Constitutional Principles
The United Kingdom's Statutory Bill of Rights

Gavin Phillipson

British Academy

This chapter considers the relationship between the Human Rights Act (HRA) and existing key principles of the UK constitution. It proposes that rather than asking how far the HRA is transforming the existing constitution, a more fruitful approach assumes that each acts upon the other. In light of this discussion, it goes on to consider particular arguments about the balance between judicial and legislative power under the HRA. First, it suggests that, contrary to a widely held view, s.3 has been used not more but less than Parliament was led to expect at the time the HRA was passed. Second, it examines recent episodes of inter-institutional disputes about rights in the light of dialogic theories which assume that governments welcome s.4 declarations as triggering an honest debate about rights; it suggests that such theories diverge sharply from political reality.

Keywords:   Human Rights Act, constitutional dialogue, interpretation, declarations of incompatibility, constitutionalism

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