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November 2011 - BASW England Consultation BASW Response to the Commission on the Bill of Rights

In addressing the issue of whether or not a Bill of Rights in the UK would enhance that quality of life is now quite a complex question to answer. The interpretation of how social justice and human rights may be enhanced in the different jurisdictions has become quite diverse through the implementation of different priorities by the different governments in each of the four jurisdictions in devolved legislatures in the past 12 years. Where a person is domiciled in the UK already affects whether they pay for prescriptions, whether they are entitled to free personal care in old age or free tuition fees whilst at university. Different governments have made different choices on the spending of public money. This diversity of approach has to be considered in the context of the democratic voting within those constituent parts.

Achieving a fair balance between international treaties, conventions and declarations, the obligations of the UK and Scottish Parliaments and the Welsh and Northern Ireland Assemblies already faces us with a complex matrix of rights and responsibilities. Added to this are differences in interpretation through case law in each of the judicial jurisdictions. Any new Bill needs to consider not adding to this complexity – creating a lawyers gravy train at the expense of citizens seeking social justice.