UK preparing to opt out of European human rights legislation

Britain is preparing to opt out of major parts of European human rights laws, risking a major row with the EU, the Sunday Telegraph reports.

Boris Johnson's aides and ministers are reportedly drawing up proposals to severely curb the use of human rights laws in areas in which judges have "overreached".

The plans under discussion include opt-outs from the Human Rights Act, which could prevent many migrants and asylum seekers from using the legislation to avoid deportation and protect British soldiers against claims relating to overseas operations. The Act allows British courts to apply the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

The move sets up a major new confrontation with the EU, which has been demanding that the UK commits to remaining signed up to the ECHR and keep the Human Rights Act in place as the price of future "law enforcement co-operation" between the bloc and Britain.

The ECHR, and its European Court of Human Rights, are part of a completely different legal system to the EU. They are both part of the Council of Europe (CoE), often confused with the European Council, which is an EU institution. The CoE has 47 member states including Russia and the UK.

Senior UK Government figures want to roll back the influence of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, which several Cabinet ministers have accused of distorting the 67-year-old European Convention on Human Rights.

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