Extending human and civic rights

A strange irony: How the EU withdrawal process ended up saving the Human Rights Act

A strange irony: How the EU withdrawal process ended up saving the Human Rights Act

Even though it looks increasingly likely the Brexit deal will not survive its first hurdle in parliament, there is yet more evidence in its pages that Brexit has saved the Human Rights Act and secured Britain’s long term future as party to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), writes Frederick Cowell. In the Political Declaration on the Framework of Future relations with the EU, the document accompanying the withdrawal agreement, under the heading ‘core values and rights there is a commitment to ‘respect the framework of the European Convention on Human Rights’. In the text of the withdrawal agreement itself – which would be a legally binding on the government – there are provisions in the Protocols on Northern Ireland, which seem to assume the UK remains a party to the ECHR.

Book Review | Striking Women: Struggles and Strategies of South Asian Women Workers from Grunwick to Gate Gourmet by Sundari Anitha and Ruth Pearson

Book Review | Striking Women: Struggles and Strategies of South Asian Women Workers from Grunwick to Gate Gourmet by Sundari Anitha and Ruth Pearson

In Striking Women: Struggles and Strategies of South Asian Women Workers from Grunwick to Gate Gourmet, Sundari Anitha and Ruth Pearson offer an in-depth examination of two strikes – the Grunwick strike of 1976–78 and the strike at Gate Gourmet in 2005 – to highlight how South Asian migrant women have contributed to the struggle for workers rights in the UK. Praising the book’s incorporation of the wider social and historical context, Amal Shahid finds this an informative and accessible read for those passionate about the history and sociology of labour, gender and migration studies. 

The Supreme Court’s decision on Northern Ireland’s abortion law – what now?

The Supreme Court’s decision on Northern Ireland’s abortion law – what now?

Kathryn McNeilly, Fiona Bloomer and Claire Pierson explain the background and implications of the recent ruling which, although found Northern Ireland’s abortion law to be incompatible with human rights law, dismissed the case on technical grounds.

The Irish Citizens’ Assembly on the 8th Amendment is a model for participatory democracy, which other democratic countries should follow

The Irish Citizens’ Assembly on the 8th Amendment is a model for participatory democracy, which other democratic countries should follow

Ireland’s referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment of its constitution, and so liberalise the country’s abortion laws, was preceded by a Citizens’ Assembly which recommended these reforms. This form of democratic participation, which crucially was state funded and informed the Irish government’s approach, is a model for producing better democratic decision making, argues Jack Bridgewater.

Ireland votes to repeal the 8th: will Northern Ireland be next to liberalise its abortion laws?

Ireland votes to repeal the 8th: will Northern Ireland be next to liberalise its abortion laws?

Ireland’s abortion referendum on 25 May resulted in a victory for the ‘Yes’ side campaigning to reform the country’s strict abortion laws by repealing the Eighth Amendment of the Irish constitution. For Jennifer Thomson, the result underlines a dramatic transformation that has taken place in Irish society over recent decades, however it also shines a light on Northern Ireland, which now looks increasingly isolated in its lack of liberalisation around abortion and LGBT rights.

Repeal the 8th amendment to allow abortion in Ireland – this constitutional experiment has failed

Repeal the 8th amendment to allow abortion in Ireland – this constitutional experiment has failed

On 25 May, the Republic of Ireland votes in a referendum to decide whether to repeal the 8th amendment of its constitution, which effectively outlaws abortion. Fiona de Londras explains how the 8th amendment works, and what the proposed legal changes are.

Collateral damage or a direct hit? Democratic ideals in the age of Trump

Collateral damage or a direct hit? Democratic ideals in the age of Trump

How robust are American democratic institutions under Trump’s presidency? Jennifer Earl argues that, even if his actions and lies do not amount to a coordinated effort to undermine democracy, the effect will be to systematically weaken the institutions of US democracy in the long term.

Reforming the Gender Recognition Act

Reforming the Gender Recognition Act

In 2017, the British government announced it would consult on amending the Gender Recognition Act 2004 to introduce the principle of self-determination for transgender people. With this process currently stalled amid increasingly acrimonious debates, Peter Dunne sets out the proposed legal reforms and points of contention.

Critical actors and abortion law: a group of individuals in Northern Irish politics obstructs change

Critical actors and abortion law: a group of individuals in Northern Irish politics obstructs change

There are various reasons why progress on legal abortion in Northern Ireland has been blocked over the years. Key among them is that individual politicians rule out any suggestion of change, writes Jennifer Thomson. She argues that more attention should be given to the actions of individual actors, considering their role can often be as important as that of political parties or institutions. 

The good, the bad and the ugly arguments for ditching the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights

The good, the bad and the ugly arguments for ditching the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights

One of the most contentious pieces of legislation to be put before Parliament – the EU (Withdrawal) Bill – now faces scrutiny and probable amendments in the Lords. From a human rights perspective, writes Joelle Grogan (Middlesex University), one of the most concerning aspects of the Bill is the exclusion of the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights from the corpus of EU law to be incorporated into UK law. She assesses the arguments being made to exclude it, concluding that the only plausible explanation for rejection of Charter rights is the rejection of rights.