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Of Bills and Rights. Procedures in pursuit of the human rights compatibility of bills. A comparative study of the British and Dutch legislative processes

ter Kuile, G.J.S.; (2010) Of Bills and Rights. Procedures in pursuit of the human rights compatibility of bills. A comparative study of the British and Dutch legislative processes. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

Both the British and the Dutch Government have expressed their intention ‘to ensure that the human rights implications of legislation are subject to proper consideration before the legislation is enacted’. The question asked in this thesis is how then consideration is given to the human rights compatibility of parliamentary legislation? The thesis concentrates on the institutional legislative processes of both countries, with their formal procedures and formal institutions. In Part I, it describes and analyses these processes at governmental and parliamentary level, and examines how and by whom bills are scrutinized for human rights compatibility. In Part II, the British and Dutch processes are compared. And in Part III, the thesis is advanced that moments of accountability, which form a web, and which are anticipated by the various legislative actors, provide that consideration is given to the human rights compatibility of legislation. In answering the research question, the thesis considers of course ministers and parliamentarians. But the interest lies more with bodies and people that support these actors in their legislative roles. For The Netherlands these are draftsmen, the Division for Constitutional Policy, the Policy Sector for Legislative Quality, staff of the Council of State, and parliamentary Clerks. For the United Kingdom they are the Human Rights Division, the Attorney General’s Office, the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel, and staff of the Joint Committee on Human Rights. Generally, these institutions and their role in considering human rights aspects of legislation have been under-researched. Substantive human rights reasoning in parliamentary documents or case law is not studied. The research method is comparative. The aim is to achieve a better understanding of the workings of both legislative processes. The selection of jurisdictions was for functional and subjective reasons. The Netherlands has a seemingly longer-standing experience with the European Convention. The Convention has been part of its domestic legal order since 1953, while the United Kingdom incorporated the Convention in 2000. A comparison with The Netherlands has the benefit of comparing two constitutional archetypes: the UK has an adversarial constitutional culture and The Netherlands a consociational one. The subjective reason, which is considered a principle of comparative research methodology, is that this author has the linguistic skills and the understanding of both societies to perform this research. The research is also empirical and socio-legal. Interviews with over 25 civil servants, Clerks, and other parliamentary staff form a major source of information for this thesis. This provides new material on the workings of both legislative processes.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Of Bills and Rights. Procedures in pursuit of the human rights compatibility of bills. A comparative study of the British and Dutch legislative processes
Language:English
Additional information:Authorisation for digitisation not received
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Laws

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