Kinder Sculpture

 

Dec 2002 Journal

previous article:Central Office for Holocaust Claims
next article:The psychopathology of politics (editorial)

Lord Woolf says Human Rights Act has strengthened democracy in Britain

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf, said, in a lecture sponsored by the AJR, that the Human Rights Act has ‘strengthened our democracy by giving each member of the public the right to seek the help of the courts to protect his or her human rights in a manner that was not previously available.’

Lord Woolf’s address, entitled ‘Human Rights - Have the Public Benefited’, was in a lecture series initiated by the AJR. In 1965 the proceeds of a ‘Thank-you Britain’ appeal held by the AJR were presented to the Academy as a token of gratitude from those who had found refuge in this country from Nazi oppression. The money raised was to be directed by the British Academy to two principal purposes: an annual (now bi-annual) lecture on a theme related to the broad sphere of human studies, and the award of similarly oriented fellowships.

Lord Woolf said Britain was now confronted by dangers possibly even greater than those which threatened the country in 1939. These dangers were pressures posed by the need to protect the public from crime, pressures created by an unprecedented number of asylum seekers and, above all, ‘pressures created by the need to protect this country from merciless acts of international terrorists.’

Lord Woolf stated that before the Human Rights Act had come into force two years ago, ‘it had become increasingly apparent that the citizens in this country, by comparison with their European neighbours, were at a significant disadvantage in having to rely primarily on the self-restraint of the government of the day for the protection of human rights values.’ Now, judges would step in to safeguard unpopular minorities if parliament or the government, urged on by the tabloids, trampled on their rights. Lord Woolf added that any unpopularity that the judiciary might incur would be ‘a price worth paying’ to ensure Britain remained a democracy committed to the rule of law.

previous article:Central Office for Holocaust Claims
next article:The psychopathology of politics (editorial)