How the UK government will scrap the Human Rights Act and replace it with a British Bill of Rights has been revealed, according to The Sunday Times.
The UK government is seeking to replace the 1998 Labour party Human Rights Act, which imported Europes Convention of Human Rights into UK law, because it believes the act is open to abuse and has created a courtroom compensation culture.
Senior government sources have told The Sunday Times that the victim culture, that has led to the creation of a vast human rights industry, will be tackled with plans to reduce the amount of compensation that can be won by those claiming their human rights have been infringed by public bodies.
In a shake-up of the current human rights laws, the British Bill of Rights would limit remedies for those bringing cases against the government or public services such as the NHS. However, a senior government source would not elaborate on how they would limit the amount a complainant could claim.
The Bill of Rights is also said to include clauses which provide a freedom of expression defence for journalists who are being sued for damages. It will also make it impossible to take British military personnel to court for actions undertaken during combat overseas.
This should help to mitigate the impact of judicial legislation in this area and the consequent persistent human rights claims against our armed forces and the MoD, the draft documents seen by The Sunday Times said. It is thought that legal challenges against military personnel over their conduct in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost the taxpayer Â£85m.
The justice secretary Michael Gove is drafting a consultation document which will published in the next month. In a move to quell dissent from Euro-friendly Tory backbenchers, the document will state that Britain will remain a signatory to the ECHR.
Currently, British judges may use their discretion on whether to follow rulings made by the ECHR, when making their judgements. But the ECHRs rulings are not binding on British courts.
According to a ComRes survey commissioned by Amnesty International, 46% of Britons do not want any of the rights currently in the Human Rights Act taken away. The poll also found that 78% of British people that rights, laws and protections must apply to everyone equally in order to be effective.
Whether the British Bill of Rights will be applied to Scotland, which has a separate legal system to England and Wales, is not yet known.