Letter from Rt Hon Jack Straw MP, Lord
Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
Joint Committee On Human Rights, Monday 21 May
On Monday 21 May Charlie Falconer, my predecessor
as Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor, appeared
before the Joint Committee on Human Rights along with Cathy Ashton
in order to give evidence to the Committee about the Ministry
of Justice and human rights. I understand that the Committee would
appreciate further information on a few issues that were raised
during the session, which I am happy to provide here.
Leaflets about the Human Rights Act
Cathy Ashton referred to a series of leaflets
about the Human Rights Act. As you know the first of these leaflets,
already circulated to the Committee, was aimed at those working
in the criminal justice sector. As Cathy described, it is still
our intention to produce further leaflets aimed at other sectors,
but no firm decisions have been taken yet on the rest of the series.
I will be happy to write to you as soon as plans are put in place
for any further leaflets.
Cathy Ashton referred to a short DVD on human
rights which was produced for the SOLACE (Society of Local Authority
Chief Executives) Spring Conference. The Conference was held on
17 and 18 April and was attended by Chief Executives and Corporate
Directors from Local Authorities across the UK. The Department
for Constitutional Affairs contributed a short film on human rights
which featured, amongst others, Cathy Ashton and Shami Chakrabarti.
The film was part of a package which was played on the main Conference
stage between plenary sessions and on local government and community
TV channels. A copy of the DVD was also given to all conference
delegates. I am pleased to be able to enclose a copy of the DVD
for the Committee's information.
Ministerial Group on Human Rights
I can confirm that, at present, no meetings
are planned for the Ad Hoc Ministerial Group on Human Rights.
Ministers will be taking a view as to whether the group should
meet again in the future.
Implementation of Strasbourg judgments
I note that this has matter has since been covered
in the Committee Sixteenth Report of this Session, Monitoring
the Government's Response to Court Judgments Finding Breaches
of Human Rights (18 June 2007). In the light of Lord Lester's
question and that Report, I have asked officials to reconsider
this issue so that I can address it properly in my response to
that report. At this stage, therefore. I can acknowledge that
as Lord Lester requested, I am giving further thought to this
I hope that this response is helpful to the
16 July 2007