Law: Scotland faces challenges on human rights
Wednesday 12 May 1999
Constitutional lawyers and academics argue that the right to equal treatment, enshrined in the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR), can extend to differences between the Scottish and English systems of government.
Once a resident of England can show that they have been discriminated against because they are born in the wrong part of the country, lawyers say, they will be able to bring a claim under the ECHR.
Rabinder Singh, an English constitutional law expert, said yesterday: "The question is whether the fact that Scotland has devolved powers means there is an objective difference between Scotland, England and Wales and that it (the differential treatment) is not an accident of geography."
Geoffrey Bindman, a civil rights lawyer, said he could see no reason why an a student in England could not bring a case for discrimination if they could show they had been denied the right to education.
But the new taxation powers of the Scottish parliament are expected to escape legal challenge as there is no right to fair or equal taxation under the ECHR.
More cases could be brought, said Professor Anthony Bradley, a constitutional lawyer in England, and Professor Colin Munro, an expert in the subject at Edinburgh University, because the Scotland Act 1998 has an illegality clause. This automatically renders illegal all measures enacted by the Scottish Parliament in breach of the ECHR - giving everybody in Scotland a direct cause of action against Scottish legislation.
The Human Rights Act, which incorporates the ECHR into British law, comes into force in Scotland immediately, although England must wait a further two years. Mr Singh said the situation may arise where the Scottish and English parliaments both enact the same legislation at the same time. In Scotland that act will be subject to direct scrutiny under the Human Rights Act, whereas in England a challenge will have to be made under the ECHR.
An upsurge in litigation is expected to put strain on the smaller Scottish legal system. Professor Munro predicted that Scotland would become more a litigious country but at the same time acknowledged that the Scottish judiciary were not used to hearing large numbers of cases brought under the ECHR
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 2 Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber reach almost £154,000 on eBay
- 3 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
- 4 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 5 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
Instagram of US airport security chiefs: Lipstick knives and IED training kits among items seized
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber reach almost £154,000 on eBay
Israel-Gaza crisis: Eight killed in Gaza Strip cafe while watching World Cup semi-final
Supermoon 2014: When and why will the moon look bigger and brighter this summer?
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
£50000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...
competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a FTSE 100 organisation are u...
£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...