An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers.
The first edition of `The Law of Human Rights' was published in October 2000, at the same time as the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA) came into force. Now, as at January 2009, it's high time, as Lord Bingham has said, `for a second edition'.
Certainly we would concur and agree with the editors Clayton and Tomlinson that `over the past eight years, the steady stream of human rights cases has become a torrent'. The volume of case law and the range of issues covered by these cases is immense', add the authors `and the task of keeping up with new developments in Strasbourg is, itself, a daunting one.'
No longer, say the authors, can the HRA be described as an exotic add-on. Rather it's `an integral part of domestic law and administrative practice' and that is how it is treated in this book, which more than fulfills the authors' intention to provide a practioners' textbook on the law of human rights in England and Wales.
Human rights issues are regularly and frequently considered by the English courts at all levels, including the large proportion of cases brought before the House of Lords - and will ultimately will no doubt occupy much of the time of the new Supreme Court from October.
This is a lucid and authoritative work of scholarship, logically structured for ease of use. The historical background of the Act as well as general principles under it are clearly considered and discussed.
Significantly they are numerous - too numerous to be discussed here. It's heartening to note that, after over two millennia of struggle in many forms and in many places, a corpus of human rights equally applicable to all, has been established and that we, within the EU are the inheritors and beneficiaries of such a multiplicity of rights and freedoms incorporated in the HRA, including, for example...
* The right to life and the abolition of the death penalty * The right not to be subject to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment * Freedom from slavery, servitude and forced labour * The right to liberty * Freedom of thought, conscience and religion * Freedom of expression * The right to education * Electoral rights * Freedom from discrimination in relation to convention rights - i.e. discrimination based on race, sex, religion, age and disability.
There are of course, many more. What the authors have tried to do -- and amply succeeded -- is to cover some of the themes, with respect to human rights, which are important both domestically and internationally, conscious though they are that no book could fully meet the expectations implicit in the title.
If you're a practitioner, student, or general reader seeking advice and practical guidance in the area of human rights issues, treasure this book. Its two authoritative and readable volumes are an essential addition to your library, treasuring our rights after 10 years in action.