THE HUMAN RIGHTS ACT 1998 AND THE COMMON LAW, A HEALTHCARE LAW PERSPECTIVE
When the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) was drafted in 1949-50, the focus was on human rights writ large. It was part of the general post-war settlement, and was initially conceived as a regional version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.1 It was not until a late stage in the travaux préparatoires that a draft tabled by the UK delegation actually produced an enforcement mechanism.2 Even so the Preamble clearly indicates the relationship with the Universal Declaration:
While there is a specific guarantee of ‘due process’ in Art 5 (relating to the deprivation of liberty) and Art 6 (relating to trial), it is clear that these were specifically aimed at preventing a repetition of the arbitrary arrests of the GeStapo and other Nazi bodies and the mockery of legality in Freisler’s
Volksgericht, with obvious reference to similar abuses in the remaining dictatorships of the left and right in Europe at the time.