Lady Hale warns of ‘dangers’ of British Bill of Rights in Belfast speech
Lady Hale, the former president of the UK Supreme Court, has warned of the “risks and dangers” posed by the proposed British Bill of Rights in a speech delivered in Belfast.
The retired judge was invited to give the keynote address at the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission’s (NIHRC) annual human rights lecture, hosted in partnership with the Bar of Northern Ireland.
The event in the Royal Courts of Justice, opened by the Lady Chief Justice, Dame Siobhan Keegan, saw Lady Hale speak on the topic: “Do we really need a British Bill of Rights?”
She told attendees: “With the publication of its Bill of Rights Bill, the UK Government is trying to reduce the protection given to human rights in UK law and we must all be alive to the risks and dangers this poses.”
Alyson Kilpatrick, chief commissioner of NIHRC, said: “The Commission is delighted to have the esteemed Lady Hale give the keynote address at our annual human rights lecture.
“It is an honour to host the first woman to lead the UK’s highest court and hear her insights on the proposed Bill and its wide-reaching implications for the enjoyment and protection of human rights.
“We would also like to thank the Bar of Northern Ireland for their continued support of this event.”
Bernard Brady QC, chair of the Bar Council of Northern Ireland, said: “It is an honour to welcome Lady Hale once again to the Royal Courts of Justice, Belfast for this keynote address.
“It is particularly significant to have Lady Hale, the first female president of the Supreme Court, welcomed to this jurisdiction by the Lady Chief Justice the Right Honourable Dame Siobhan Keegan, our first female Chief Justice.
“This annual human rights lecture is taking place at a time when political events and legislative developments have combined to provoke renewed debate and concern about human rights protections.
“This serves as a reminder of the importance of fair, accessible and efficient legal processes, in which individual’s rights are protected and the rule of law absolute.
“We should not lose sight of the rule of law as an unqualified human good.”