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The scope of the discussion on human rights and civil liberties in the UK can be very widely drawn. The UK has a strong history in the development of international standards on both of these issues, having been part of the drafting process for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and for the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

This Library Note looks at human rights and civil liberties in the UK, focusing on recent political developments in these areas. It examines the Government’s plans for the repeal of the Human Rights Act 1998, and its subsequent replacement with a new British Bill of Rights, alongside issues raised by other legislative proposals such as the Investigatory Powers Bill. The Anderson Report, A Question of Trust – Report of the Investigatory Powers Review, is also examined. Other recently passed Acts of Parliament are very briefly discussed, including the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 and the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

The Note therefore provides context for the public and political discourse in the UK regarding the reconciling of the legislative agenda with the need to uphold certain conventions and principles of human rights, alongside the concerns of crime prevention and national security.


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