The deadline for submission to the Independent Review of the Human Rights Act was 3 March 2021. However, you can still make a submission to the Joint Committee on Human Rights inquiry until 22 March 2021.

When there are national discussions about the future of human rights protection in the UK, BIHR believes it is important to support people, groups, and public sector workers to be heard. Our human rights and how they are protected in law is about all of us.

The UK Government created an Independent Human Rights Act Review (The Review) in December 2020. This was set up following the Conservative party’s pledge to “relook” at the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA). The Review recently launched a call for evidence which is supposed to look at 20 years of the HRA’s operation.

The questions are quite narrow, and focus on how the HRA works in courtrooms, and the relationship between government, parliament and the courts. This does not reflect 20 years of the HRA’s operation. We know from working with people, community organisations and public bodies that the HRA can be a powerful practical tool for advocacy, for planning, delivering and securing rights-respecting services, and to support calls to change policy and legislation which is not rights compliant.

How you are using the HRA in everyday ways really matters but may be missed in the Review. There is also not a lot of time to respond; the Review was announced on 13 January and the deadline for submissions is 3 March 2021. We suggest that you do not have to answer the narrow legal questions asked by the HRA Rewiew's call for evidence - just state that you're not and why. All responses will be published even if they don't answer the legal questions. We believe that it is very important that we include our stories of the HRA in everyday life so that they form part of the evidence-base that the Review uses.

In response to the Review, The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) is also gathering evidence. We submitted a short response, including some of our concerns about the Independent review to the JCHR on 19 February. Although we are also writing a larger response, we wanted to submit this information to the JCHR before the 19 February so that they can use this evidence when they make their own submission to the Independent Review.

You can read our short response here.

The JCHR will keep it's call for evidence open a little longer, until 22 March 2021 to inform any further work related to the Review.

Below are some of the ways BIHR can support you or your organisation to respond to Human Rights Act Reviews and Inquiries - you can write one response to submit to both! Just make sure to include a cover letter or intro paragraph for the JCHR Inquiry submission to say you are submitting it to them as separate evidence given the broader questions the JCHR is asking around the operation of the HRA. This is because parliamentary committees have rules about receiving unique evidence, so you should tell them you are specifically sending it to them as well.

Please note that you should clearly state in your response whether you want your personal details published.

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Find out more about the history of human rights in our handy timeline!