Joint Committee On Human Rights Fourth Report



HEREFORD MARKETS BILL

57. Clause 4 of this Bill would allow the District Council to relocate any market within its district after consulting those who would be affected, including market traders. The consent of traders operating in the proposed new locality for a market would be required, but the consent of traders operating in the market to be relocated would not be necessary. We reported earlier that, in our view, the Bill did not give rise to a significant risk of incompatibility with Convention rights.[45] In accordance with Standing Orders, the Government has now examined the human rights assessment prepared by the promoters of the Bill in support of their statement that the Bill, in their view, is compatible with Convention rights. The Government takes the view that the assessment is defective.[46] We have therefore given further consideration to the Bill's human rights implications.

58. We understand that the Government takes the view that the promoters' assessment gave inadequate consideration to the rights of the traders in a market which is proposed for relocation pursuant to clause 4 of the Bill. We note that the Government's role, under Standing Orders, is only to express a view as to the adequacy of the promoters' assessment, and the Government's statement is expressly limited to that. It does not go any further than that. In particular, the Government has not considered whether clause 4 is likely to give rise to an incompatibility with Convention rights. Unlike the Government, we have not seen the promoters' human rights assessment, and so cannot express a view about it. On the other hand, we are in a position to consider the human rights implications of the Bill itself. A decision to relocate a market would affect the ability of existing traders in the market to earn their livings by continuing their economic activities. This would engage the right to peaceful enjoyment of possessions under P1/1. But the council would have a duty under clause 4 to consult before deciding to relocate a market, and would act unlawfully (by virtue of section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998) in relocating a market if doing so violated the rights of traders under P1/1 (or other Convention rights). That being so, we consider that clause 4 of the Hereford Markets Bill would permit the council to strike a fair balance between the rights of traders and the general interest, as required under Article 1 of Protocol 1, and would therefore be unlikely to give rise to a significant risk of incompatibility with Convention rights.


45   First Report of Session 2002-03, Scrutiny of Bills: Progress Report, HL Paper 24/HC 191, p. 27, para. 95 Back

46   The Government's statement is reproduced as an appendix to this Report, Ev 22 Back


 
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