Briefing note – Positive obligations and the Bill of Rights Bill
The Bill of Rights Bill, which will reform UK law relating to human rights, contains some provisions that are theatrical and legally meaningless, but it also contains provisions that will harm the protection of human rights. One of the more harmful provisions is Clause 5 on positive obligations. The proposed changes could increase legal uncertainty, affect those seeking an independent effective investigation into the deaths of family members, and risk denying protection to (among others) victims of crime, domestic violence, child neglect, child abuse, and human trafficking.
Professor Rory O’Connell of Ulster University has written a briefing note on behalf of CAJ examining in depth the potential impact of the Bill of Rights Bill on positive obligations.
Download the briefing here.
What are positive obligations?
‘Positive obligations’ refers to the idea that to uphold human rights, sometimes the state must do something and not merely refrain from doing anything. For example, where the state has no laws protecting employees’ free expression rights in the workplace that is a breach of positive obligations relating to free expression.