As much as £388,000 of taxpayers’ money has been spent on a government-commissioned review of the Human Rights Act.
Boris Johnson launched the Independent Human Rights Act Review in December 2020 after pledging an overhaul of the legislation in the 2019 Conservative manifesto.
Following a Freedom of Information request the Ministry of Justice has confirmed the review is ongoing and the department would be unable to provide final costs. But it added:
“Prior to commencement, the total maximum cost for the Independent Human Rights Act Review was estimated to be between £288,000 and £388,000. Current forecasts are for the total cost of this review to be slightly below the maximum range.”
A separate consultation on reform of judicial review, which will restrict the power of people to mount legal challenges, was launched in March this year and has now concluded. That was a total cost of just £3,000.
Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said: “The priorities are disastrously wrong. During a global pandemic, ministers are using taxpayers’ money to find new ways of putting themselves above the law. Judicial review and the Human Rights Act are working well. They are powerful tools for individuals to enforce their rights and stop governments from overstepping their powers.
In its response, the MoJ said the cost of the IHRAR was a “relatively small use of government resources, required to deliver one of the Government’s manifesto commitments”.