Thursday 8 October 2015

New Book on UK and European Human Rights

The difficult relation between the United Kingdom and European human rights institutions has become a 'topos' in academic literature, as literary scholars would call it. A new book has just been published to take stock of these discussions. Katja S Ziegler, Elizabeth Wicks, and Loveday Hodson (all from the University of Leicester) are the editors of a collection of scholarly articles brought together in a book entitled 'The UK and European Human Rights A Strained Relationship?', published by Hart. The introductory chapter is freely available online as a sample here. The great merit of the book is that it is so multifaceted, going far beyond looking just at British politicians criticising the Strasbourg Court. Rather, the book assesses the issue from a myriad of perspectives, including the positions and perspectives of national judges, the press, and other actors. It also looks at the EU and makes a comparison with a selected number of other countries (including Italy, Russia, Germany and France). To some, the book, like many edited volumes, may be too broad-ranging, but it does include so many valuable contributions about its core theme, including historical perspectives on the issue, that it is more than worthwhile. This is the book's abstract:

"The UK’s engagement with the legal protection of human rights at a European level has been, at varying stages, pioneering, sceptical and antagonistic. The UK government, media and public opinion have all at times expressed concerns about the growing influence of European human rights law, particularly in the controversial contexts of prisoner voting and deportation of suspected terrorists as well as in the context of British military action abroad. British politicians and judges have also, however, played important roles in drafting, implementing and interpreting the European Convention on Human Rights. Its incorporation into domestic law in the Human Rights Act 1998 intensified the ongoing debate about the UK’s international and regional human rights commitments. Furthermore, the increasing importance of the European Union in the human rights sphere has added another layer to the relationship and highlights the complex relationship(s) between the UK government, the Westminster Parliament and judges in the UK, Strasbourg and Luxembourg.

The book analyses the topical and contentious issue of the relationship between the UK and the European systems for the protection of human rights from doctrinal, contextual and comparative perspectives and explores factors that influence the relationship of the UK and European human rights."

The table of contents can be found here.