Constitutional reform is defined as an adjustment to the constitution of a country. In the UK, it only possible to pass a constitutional reform when a referendum has taken place on the Since 1997, many constitutional reforms have taken place. For example, the Human Rights Act that was passed in 1998, but came into effect in October 2000. The HRA incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) into UK law. There are arguments that propose that the HRA of 1998 was inadequate in that it isn’t fully binding on the UK Parliament. The HRA doesn’t constitute an entrenched Bill of Rights, and thus it cannot be used to overturn parliamentary Acts - meaning that rights are still under threat, as the anti-terrorism acts that have been passed make the HRA effectively useless under those circumstances. Also, the HRA didn’t actually introduce any new laws, but merely made the accessibility of justice easier, so for many UK citizens, the HRA didn’t actually change all that much. . However, the anti-terrorism acts would only constrain a tiny percentage of the human rights abuses in the UK in terms of getting fair treatment, and so the HRA has led to many successful victories for human rights campaigners. This can be seen through the 2004 case of nine suspected terrorists being released from Belmarsh Prison on the grounds that their arrest was based on a law that discriminated illegally between foreign nationals and UK citizens. Furthermore, prior to the introduction of the HRA, plaintiffs had to travel to Strasbourg in order to bring their grievances to the attention of the ECHR – a very costly and time consuming process. The HRA prevented this unnecessary stress, and making the ECHR applicable in the UK made a great deal of difference to how successful human rights cases were in the UK.
Devolution is another very notable constitutional reform that has taken place since 1997. The Scottish and the Welsh are now governed by devolved bodies that are closer to the...
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