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Book reviews

17 October 11

Reviews of Evolution of the European Convention on Human Rights (Bates); Human Rights Law and Practice (Lester & Pannick)

by David J Dickson

The Evolution of the European Convention on Human Rights

Ed Bates

PUBLISHER: OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS
ISBN: 9780199207992
PRICE: £95

Bates has written a lucid, readable book on the development of the European Court of Human Rights, from the kernel of the Convention, written in 1948 as an safeguard against totalitarianism, to its development as a European Bill of Rights, with the court as a constitutional court for Europe delivering landmark jurisprudence at significant points in its development.

Lord Hoffmann recently wrote that "the very concept of human rights is being trivialised by silly interpretations of grand ideas". Despite concerns on the wide application of Convention rights, and its current backlog of 119,000 cases, the court continues to address fundamental issues such as extraterritorial jurisdiction for civil deaths in Iraq (Al-Skeini v UK), the compatibility with fair trial rights of the absence of reasons for a jury’s decision, and restrictions on cross examination of the complainer in trials of sexual offences (Judge v UK 2011 SCCR 241). As Bates reflects, the court needs a resolution to ensure a balance is achieved between maintaining the hard fought right of individual petition with a need to determine cases of wider significance, to ensure the jurisprudence of the court and its primary aims are achieved.

David J Dickson, Solicitor Advocate

Human Rights Law and Practice

Lord Lester and David Pannick

PUBLISHER: LEXIS NEXIS
ISBN: 9781405736882
PRICE: £230

The application of those rights is most clearly explained in Lester and Pannick’s Human Rights Law and Practice. As Bates notes, Lord Lester was one of the earlier pioneers of the application of the Convention. This superb text is accessible and wide ranging, addressing as it does the application of each article and protocol of the Convention proceeded by the development of the Convention within the UK. Lord Reed's chapter on the application of human rights in Scots law provides the clearest explanation of devolution issues and the Scotland Act available. The application of the Convention knows no bounds and this book is a valuable and timely contribution for practitioners. This masterly text ought to be on every shelf.

David J Dickson, Solicitor Advocate


 

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