It’s always been a problem when people talk rights, particularly politicians who encoded some rights into law and allowed judges (and the legal system) to twist them beyond what was actually intended but still within the letter (if only barely at times) This in essence is why proper legal documents are rather bizarre to read at times as legalise is a very precise language where what is stated is exactly what is meant. Politicians (and people) rarely realise this and their idea of a right has all sort of exclusivity built into it unknowingly whereas to a legal expert it’s all open to interpretation. Also no system of rights seems to come with a system of responsibilities, otherwise we probably wouldn’t have stories like this in the press.
Four murderers and a drug dealer are in line for taxpayer-funded fertility treatment so that they can father a child from behind bars.
The killers are demanding to be allowed to take part in IVF treatment despite serving life sentences. Ministers may be powerless to refuse because of a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights concerning the right to a private and family life.
Turning down the prisoners’ demands could lead to court action and compensation claims running into tens of thousands of pounds.
Last year the Daily Mail revealed that a prisoner had been given access to artificial insemination treatment on the NHS at a cost of around £2,000.
Since then, 13 applications have been made by inmates in England and Wales. Eight have been rejected but five remain in ministers’ in-trays.
As it’s the Mail, usual caveats apply, however there are several documented cases where criminals have used the rights system to evade justice s well as use the Human Rights Act and its various clauses to act as if they are not prisoners at all. That has ever been at the core of the Human Rights Act in that it remained specifically vague as to the differences between the law abiding and the criminal. Rather than go for a basic set of rights, it opted for all encompassing and got a hell of a surprise when it got used in ways they never envisioned by people who clearly ought not to have access to IVF fertilisation or indeed the right to vote. This is what comes of allowing badly written law onto the statute books, a table of rights for all, should also have come with a table of responsibilities for all which if not abided to, restricted you to a very limited set of rights. As it is, the way that the EU is set up with regard to the European Court of Human Rights means that in order to get this odious piece of legislation off the statute books means we’d have to leave the EU. Nor would bringing in an extra layer of ‘British rights’ in the manner of a new Magna Carta work either as it would simply be a layer on top of the HRA and not a replacement as some politicians would have us believe.
I’m not against people having rights as a protection from the state, I do have a problem when the scope of those rights goes way beyond what was originally intended (in the public’s eye at least) you should only get the full raft of rights when you take on a full raft of responsibilities. We don’t need to just get rid of the HRA, we need to add a Human Responsibilities Act in future rights legislation to prevent things like this ever happening again.