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Academic in attack on Tory human rights plan.

CONSERVATIVE plans to strip European judges of their power to enforce human rights in the UK have been condemned by a Midland legal expert.

Dr Bharat Malkani, a lecturer at Birmingham Law School at the University of Birmingham, branded the plan as "misleading, vague and completely incoherent".

Under the blueprint, a future Conservative government would effectively issue an ultimatum to Strasbourg that it must accept being merely an "advisory body" - or Britain would withdraw from the system altogether.

The party would scrap the Human Rights Act introduced by Labour in 1998 to enshrine the European Convention on Human Rights in domestic law.

Instead there would be a Bill of Rights, including the principles from the convention, originally drawn up by British lawyers after the Second World War.

But it would also make clear that the Supreme Court UK judges were not obliged to take European Court of Human Rights' rulings into account when coming to decisions.

The Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said if the ECHR and the Council of Europe refused to accept the new arrangements, Britain would simply leave the convention. It was no longer sustainable to write European judges a "legal blank cheque" in the wake of rulings such as that demanding prisoners be given the vote, he argued.

Mr Malkani said: "Some bits of it are just misleading, or vague or completely incoherent and that is the worrying bit. It seems to be riddled with misleading information. It is too vague to know what is going on and too incoherent to make sense of it, i.e. to say the European Court of Human Rights is no longer binding is an out and out lie."

Mr Malkani said there were misconceptions that European Court of Human Rights decisions frequently went against Britain, but this was simply not the case and that on average only one in 50 went against the UK.

He also described the prospect of a British Bill of Rights as "vague", particularly in the wake of the Scottish referendum and pledges to devolve more powers to Scotland and other regions.

Mr Malkani said he failed to see how the Government could simply opt out from the European Court of Human Rights and the European Convention of Human Rights.

He said: "They are saying the European Court of Human Rights will be only advisory and no longer binding, I don't see how Parliament can do that."

Mr Grayling meanwhile has insisted the current Attorney General, Jeremy Wright, believed the plans were "fine, viable and legal".

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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 9, 2014
Words:420
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