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Tories 'would make it harder for victims to enforce human rights'

Sean Humber, head of the human rights team at law firm Leigh Day, said it was "intellectually dishonest" to imply that scrapping the Human Rights Act would reduce the UK's human rights obligations as it would still be signed up to, and obliged to comply with, the European Convention on Human Rights.

However, and entirely cynically, by abolishing the Act and replacing it with some watered-down inferior imitation, the Conservatives would make it much harder for victims to enforce their human rights as they would then need to go to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

What is so wrong with wanting to live in a country where you have internationally recognised basic and fundamental rights by virtue of your existence as a human being that can be upheld by an independent judiciary and which an over-zealous state cannot take away?

Is this not a concept that Conservatives hold dear?

– Sean Humber, human rights lawyer

British Bill of Rights 'would diminish our freedoms'

Shami Chakrabarti, director of campaign group Liberty, said:

So finally the cards are on the table - and what a hand has been played.

As legally illiterate as politically provocative, this plan would gamble with our fragile Union and put us in breach of international law.

This so-called British Bill of Rights would diminish everyone's freedoms and make Government even less accountable in the future.

– Shami Chakrabarti, Liberty


Charity accuses Tories of 'setting themselves above the law'

Tim Hancock, campaigns director of Amnesty UK, said:

These proposals are nasty, spiteful and shameful. This is electioneering on the backs of Europe's most vulnerable.

Under these plans human rights would be reserved for only those people the Government decides should get them. This is a blueprint for human rights you would expect from a country like Belarus.

We should all be worried when politicians try to set themselves above the law.

It's a complete disgrace to see the government blackmail the Council of Europe.

– Tim Hancock, Amnesty

Right of victims to confront offenders reforms unveiled

The right of victims of crime to directly confront the offenders who damaged their lives in court is to be enshrined in law, the Government said.

Publicly-funded lawyers are also to be barred from taking on serious sex offence cases unless they have undergone specialist training.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling Credit: PA

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said a reform package - including the creation of a Victims' Information Service - would ensure the "highest emphasis" is put on those who suffer at the hands of criminals.

Under a code introduced last year, victims are able to choose to explain to the court and offender how a crime has affected them by reading out a Victim Personal Statement which is taken into account by judges when determining the sentence.

Stripping red tape for do-gooders 'common sense'

Removing red tape to protect good samaritans and responsible employers is "common sense", according to the Justice Secretary.

Plans to change the law so judges will have to give weight to factors when deciding negligence cases, including whether someone was acting responsibly, will give good samaritans the legal protection they deserve, Chris Grayling said.

I don't want us to be a society where people feel that they can't do the right thing for fear of breaking regulations or becoming liable if something goes wrong.

I don't want us to be a society where a responsible employer gets the blame for someone doing something stupid.

I want a society where common sense is the order of the day, and I believe this measure will help us get there.

– Chris Grayling


Protection for 'responsible employers and do-gooders'

Greater legal protection for responsible employers and do-gooders will be offered, if Government plans to strip red tape from "Britain's health and safety culture" go ahead.

Chris Grayling wants to offer more legal protection for Good Samaritans. Credit: PA

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling wants to provide greater protection to those who end up involved in liability claims.

Measures are aimed at removing bureaucracy which sometimes deters would-be volunteers or helping a stranger, as they were worried about the threat of being sued for negligence.

Of the many people who do volunteer, research suggests that nearly half of them, 47%, are concerned about the risk of liability, he said.

Richard III court battle was 'waste of time and money'

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling. Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has blasted Plantagenet Alliance, the group who fought to have Richard III buried in York, for wasting taxpayers money.

He said he was pleased with the High Court's decision to rebury the King's remains in Leicester, where they were found.

He added: "I am frustrated and angry that the Plantagenet Alliance - a group with tenuous claims to being relatives of Richard III - have taken up so much time and public money."

Banned drivers 'face serious consequences'

Banned drivers who continue to get behind the wheel and end up injuring someone "face serious consequences", the Justice Secretary has said.

Chris Grayling announced plans for tougher sentencing for disqualified drivers who kill behind the wheel and said:

I want to make our roads safer and ensure people who cause harm face tough penalties.

Disqualified drivers should not be on our roads for good reason. Those who chose to defy a ban imposed by a court and go on to destroy innocent lives must face serious consequences for the terrible impact of their actions.

Today, we are sending a clear message that anyone who does will face much tougher punishment.

– Chris Grayling

Tougher sentences for disqualified drivers who kill

Longer jail sentences will be handed down to disqualified drivers who get behind the wheel while banned and kill someone, the Government has announced.

Drivers who flout bans will face more time behind bars, the Justice Secretary has announced. Credit: PA

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling wants offenders who defy bans to face up to 10 years behind bars if they cause death and four years for serious injuries, under reforms introduced next year.

Mr Grayling defended the plans by saying they would send a clear message to drivers who flout bans and "go on to destroy innocent lives".

The current maximum sentence faced by a driver who causes death while driving when disqualified is two years in jail and there is no specific offence of causing serious injury while banned

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