The EuropeanConvention on Human Rights is an International Treaty, which was drafted in1950. 47 states including UK have signed up to this treaty; The Council ofEurope originally created the treaty. With about 10 founding members at thebeginning of its existence, including the UK with Winston Churchill being theleading figure who actively spoke out for the reason for a need in theexistence of the ECHR, the Council of Europe initially was founded after the SecondWorld War to protect the rule of law and to promote democracy across Europe.Most importantly their existence was to protect the rights of all humans, throughreaffirming their profound belief in fundamental freedoms, most Governmentssign up to the ECHR to make a legal commitment to all citizens of their countrythat their rights and freedoms must and will be protected, in order to increasetheir political legitimacy.
The EuropeanConvention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms is a list of 14 articlesand 16 protocols that protect the people and the government in any country,which have signed up to it. Out of all the articles within the ECHR there areabout five key articles, all of them sharing importance, but these five I saw asthe most important, ‘Article 10 being the freedom of expression’ which protectsthe right to freedom to hold opinions expressing what they wish regardless ofthe frontiers. ‘Article 2 being the right to life’; individuals are not to bedeprived of their life intentionally, this article safeguards your right to live.’Article 3 being the prohibition of torture’ this article protects you frombeing tortured, where no one shall be subjected to inhuman treatment orpunishment. ‘Article 4 being the prohibition of slavery and forced labour’, noone shall be held in slavery or servitude, this article protects you if yourare under the risk being held against your own will under abuse. Lastly ‘Article6 the right to a fair trial’, where everyone is entitled to a fair publichearing, protecting your right to have a fair trial with a lawyer present in afair amount of time provided. The UK has beendeveloping the citizens human rights since the Magna Carta was enforced in1215, much further after this was when the Bill of Rights was developed, thenthe ECHR and then most recently the HRA 1998.
Before the ECHR,anyone that lived in the UK that had a legal case that they wished to presentin court had to travel all the way to European courts toargue their case, it has now become much easier because it means their HumanRights are protected within the UK courts without having to travel toStrasbourg. However the Human Rights Act was originally a law passed in 1998,this law was passed to re-instate Parliamentary Sovereignty, because when thislaw was passed, it means that judges will bound to apply an act of Parliamenteven if that act provides for the application of a judicial authority from aforeign court. The judges could no longer ignore or dispense any law enacted byparliament, to do so they would have to enforce the Bill of Rights. In the UK we havea un-codified constitution, meaning the UK’s laws are not written on a singledocument, meaning the our laws and much more flexible, it is very easy toremove and pass on laws through parliament because of this, meaning it is notentrenched. The government in the UK is somewhat accused of abusing its powersat the cost of an individuals rights, but this was over seen after the passingof the HRA 1998. This means that if we wanted to get rid of the Human RightsAct then we only need one more seat in majority.
However in America they have acodified constitution meaning that it is entrenched, so their constitution iswritten in one single document. This means that the US constitution is veryinflexible, meaning the government cannot exploit its citizens as theconstitution protects all rights of the people from being violated and itself.America has something called the Bill of Rights within their constitution thatserves to protect citizens from excess governmental power, it accomplishes thisthrough ensuring there is a separation of powers, one example would be theSixth Amendment where through all criminal prosecutions, they have the right toa fair, speedy and public trial and to also have a assistance of counsel forhis defense. This means that the Congress cannot make a law, which overlaps orattempts to over rule this persons right to free trial.