Friday, March 18, 2011

Leaving the ECHR? Cameron's Commiission suggests deadlock.

Lobbydog seems to have got there first with the final list of the Commission set to examine the need for a British Bill of Rights, and thus the possibility of the UK opting out of the jurusdiction of the ECHR.
Full membership: Sir Leigh Lewis KCB, Jonathan Fisher QC, Martin Howe QC, Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws QC, Lord Lester of Herne Hill QC, Philippe Sands QC, Anthony Speaight QC, Professor Sir David Edward QC and Dr Michael Pinto-Duschinsky.
Looking at the people on it I wouold say that the result is pre-determined: a Chairman's casting vote.

Sir Leigh Lewis KCB,
Sir Leigh is a career Civil Servant who is a late addition as Chairman. But his opinion will in the end be vital.

Yes to independence/British Bill of Rights

Jonathan Fisher QC,
Fisher is a Conservative lawyer - Pro a British Bill of rights is this pamphlet is anything to go by. And for that matter this evidence to the House seems encouraging.
Martin Howe QC,
Howe is and remains pretty solid on the subject
Dr Michael Pinto-Duschinsky.
Pinto-Duschinsky wrote the Policy Exchange paper demanding a British Bill of Rights, so I would put him in the Yes camp...
Anthony Speaight QC,
Is underdecided if the Society of Conservative Lawyers paper his anything to go by, as he seems to argue that we can (at least in England) avoid the ECHR judgements.

No to Independence/British Bill of Rights
Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws QC,
Helena Kennedy is pretty hard core in favour of the ECHR
Lord Lester of Herne Hill QC,
Strongly Pro ECHR former advisor to Roy Jenkins, Runnymead Trust etc
Philippe Sands QC,
Sands is a member of Matrix Chambers true winners of the HRA and a true believer in the efficacy of International Courts and Law.
Professor Sir David Edward QC
Sir David is a paid up member of the European elite

So as Lobbydog puts it,
Lewis, a former Permanent Secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions with a 'long career in public service', is perfectly positioned to see that this issue remains unresolved well in to 2012.

Looking now at the official anouncement on the MoJ website my heart sinks,
The Commission's full Terms of Reference are:

The Commission will investigate the creation of a UK Bill of Rights that incorporates and builds on all our obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights, ensures that these rights continue to be enshrined in UK law, and protects and extend our liberties.

It will examine the operation and implementation of these obligations, and consider ways to promote a better understanding of the true scope of these obligations and liberties.

It should provide advice to the Government on the ongoing Interlaken process to reform the Strasbourg court ahead of and following the UK's Chairmanship of the Council of Europe.

It should consult, including with the public, judiciary and devolved administrations and legislatures, and aim to report no later than by the end of 2012.
There isn't even the slightest thought that we might leave, not a possibility that we might mitigate the actions of the ECHR, merely that we find a way to tread water or to strengthen the ECHR rights. Please note that it is to build on "All our obligations".

Oh brother.


derek.buxton1 said...

So, who is surprised. It is the usual stitch up, conclusion decided first then go out for a meal or six with wine and brandy of course. Job done, bank balances of those involved suitably increased! Let's see who was complaining about bankers bonuses. They have a long way to go to get near the establishment lawyers.

jailhouselawyer said...

Sir Leigh Lewis, and Michael Pinto-Duschinsky, I would question their credentials.

Then, rather disturbingly, why form a commission of experts just for another bunch of experts to advise them "An advisory panel will also be established to provide advice and expertise to the Commission on issues arising in relation to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland"? Human Rights are universal...

Gawain Towler said...

You know what John, I agree with you on both points...

Lewis is an old Whitehall hand, trained in equivocation. Perfect Chairman, and not publically associated with either side of the arguement.

As to the advisors having advisors, I can see infinite regression.

Though I do not agree with you about the universality of hman rioghts, we have societal rights, no more. They are important and generally good things, but without an agreed moral framework, the like of which a shared belief system can provide they are meaningless.

Shock horror