LETTERS: Human rights, British politicians and the European Court

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The Independent Online
From Ms Sarah Hipperson

Sir: Colin Brown's article "Britain could quit convention" (29 September) confirms my understanding that some of Her Majesty's ministers only have respect for the law when it enables them to carry out their political policies; when the law gets in their way they simply ignore it, leaving the injured parties to seek relief through the courts.

Michael Howard seems to have the same tendency to go beyond his ministerial powersthat Michael Heseltine has. Both have had to be brought into line by the courts on numerous occasions.

When Mr Heseltine was Secretary of State for Defence he made by-laws for Greenham Common in 1985, producing invalid law in excess of his law- making power. It took a long four-year journey through the courts before he was brought into line. Lord Lowry noted in the judgment that

It is up to the law-maker to keep within his powers and it is in the public interest that he should take care in order that the public may be able to rely on the written word as representing the law.

If Her Majesty's Government attempts to deny her citizens access to the European courts, there should be an outcry from all who value the right to call to account ministers like Messrs Howard and Heseltine who go beyond the limits of their powers.

Yours sincerely,

Sarah Hipperson

Women's Peace Camp

Greenham Common


2 October