Dominic Raab said it’s not “the job of the European Court in Strasbourg to be dictating things” to the UK.
The justice secretary’s statement comes after admitting earlier this month that Boris Johnson told him to rewrite the law in order to overhaul the Human Rights Act.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Raab suggested what those changes would mean: “I don’t think it’s the job of the European Court in Strasburg to be dictating things to, whether it’s the NHS, whether it’s our welfare provision, or whether it’s our police forces.
“We want the Supreme Court to have a last word on interpreting the laws of the land, not the Strasbourg court.”
Raab blames European Court for UK’s lack of progress
Raab insisted the current system is to blame for “harpooning” major government infrastructure projects and for slowing down development.
Changes to the judicial process are likely to be debated this month and specific proposals to change the Human Rights Act are set to be put before MPs in spring, according to PA news agency.
Earlier this month, Raab sparked backlash from campaigners when promising to overhaul the Act, because of a threat of losing basic human protections.
Raab said the move would bring “common sense” to the justice system, but campaign group Amnesty warned “politicians should not be removing the rights of ordinary people with the stroke of a pen”.
Sacha Deshmukh, Amnesty International UK’s CEO, said: “The Human Rights Act has been key to some of the biggest justice fights over the last 30 years – from Hillsborough and the Mid Staffs hospital deaths, to years of human rights violations against women activists in the Spycops scandal.
“The deeply unacceptable delay to setting up a public inquiry into the government’s handling of the Covid pandemic is just one example of why the Human Rights Act is so important.
‘We need the Human Rights Act more than ever’ – Amnesty UK
“The Human Rights Act is a key protection against an overmighty government – and we need it now more than ever.
“Politicians should not be removing the rights of ordinary people with the stroke of a pen, whilst giving evermore powers to the police and protecting members of the establishment from proper scrutiny. That’s the complete opposite of justice.”
Shadow justice secretary David Lammy said: “After 11 years of Tory government, court backlogs have reached record levels, violence and self-harm in prisons have soared, rape convictions have plummeted, and many women have lost confidence in the criminal justice system.
“Yet instead of addressing any of these problems, the new Justice Secretary chose to focus on vague threats to take away ordinary people’s rights.”
Earlier this year, the UK has been found guilty of “systematically and persistently” breaching air pollution limits by the European Court of Justice.
EU judges found that the UK failed to follow through on a legal obligation to put in place adequate plans to tackle the growing problem of nitrogen dioxide pollution.
Around six million people aged 65 and over live in places where particulate matter pollution exceeds World Health Organisation recommended levels, research for Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation found.