Although the United Kingdom functions as a single signatory state to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and the Human Rights Act 1998 applies throughout the United Kingdom, the distinct legal systems, procedures, jurisprudence and legal histories of Scotland and England permit human rights issues to be decided differently in each part of the country. While it might be anticipated that the establishment of the new Supreme Court under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 will resolve potential conflicts between decisions on human rights issues taken in Scots and English law, not least because the Supreme Court will inherit the former devolution jurisdiction of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, the jurisprudential legacy of Privy Council decisions on matters previously referred to it from Scotland will remain. The Privy Council also continues – for the time being at least – as the final court of appeal for a small number of remaining and former “colonies”. The potential significance of this has recently been illustrated by a case arising in the very small Pacific island of Pitcairn.
- Human rights
- Administration of justice
- Criminal procedure
- Pitcairn Islands
- Right to independent and impartial tribunal