One bad thing about the Act is that the judiciary system will have to be extensively trained into dealing with cases that involve the Human Rights Act. In 1998 the Lord Chancellor referred to the role of the Judicial Studies Board in developing plans for such training, so British Judges are at least aware of some of the details. However, Judges will be trained to refer to textbooks or directly, through information technology, to the European Court's own database of judgements to ensure correct decisions on cases in England.
The cost of the implementation of this training for the judicial system has proved to be extremely expensive; the Lord Chancellor and the Home Secretary have set a total of i?? 4. 5 million aside. Together with the possible cost of the cases themselves in the future, and the guarantee of legal aid to those who cannot afford solicitors' fees, the Performing of the Human Rights Act will cost taxpayers a great deal of money. However, it may be a small price to pay for the absolute entitlement to British citizens of their rights as a human being.
Many people believe that the Human Rights Act is enhancing British sovereignty; the courts will be able to overrule the government if they breach the convention, possibly suggesting that total power lies with the judges. Judges are not elected, and if our British sovereignty is going to lie in their hands, many people may request that the courts are elected and therefore democratic. However, since the judges will have a codified document that they have to refer to, there may be only a small chance that their powers are abused as they cannot be biased.
Despite the concept of sovereignty becoming an issue, the UK courts will still have to be accountable to the European Court of Justice, and so it could be said that sovereignty therefore lies in Europe. However, this can be a positive situation for the citizen who claims to be a victim as if the UK courts rule them unconstitutional, they still have the option of going to the European Court with their human rights problem. However, this is costly and timely, and many people may not bother unless their case is very important.
The Human Rights Act can be said to enhance traditional values, as opposed to ending them, and the Human Rights Task Force strongly believes this. Even though there have been allegations that the Act has a strong impact on public schools and other private bodies with public functions, the Task Force condemn this by saying that many people are not interpreting the Human Rights as they are intended to be interpreted. They suggest that the rights in the Human Rights Act are not new; many of them came from the UK in the first place, and so does the idea of balance and responsibility which provides the context for interpreting these rights.
An advantage of the Human Rights Act is that the written document ensures that the government cannot abuse the Act, and any future dictatorships will not be able to put civilian's rights under threat as a bill of rights would make all rights and obligations clear to understand. Also, it would prevent any government from breaking various conventions; at present, the Prime Minister has the power to abolish the monarchy, and even though it would be unconstitutional the Act imposes legal limits of governments. Many people feel it is simply unachievable in Britain today due to all the implications it would bring with it.
It may not be clear how to interpret 'rights', and there are no set guidelines of what format the Act should take, such as how entrenched it should be. Many existing laws conflict with our Human Rights Act which is obviously a negative thing, and even though the Labour government introduced the Act to gain support from electorates, they surely cannot be pleased with the limits they have placed on their own power. Also, many people believe UK citizens' rights were adequately protected before the Act was introduced, and it has been an expensive waste of taxpayers' money.
The Human Rights Act that has been codified may possibly suggest a step forward into a whole new written constitution, although this is a totally different issue. Overall, there are many different advantages and disadvantages that suggest the UK Human Rights Act are both good and bad, although Britain will not be able to judge it until the progress has been analysed and evaluated in the future. It has only been made a law for two months at present, so there is still plenty of time in the future to decide on the outcome and consequences of the Act.