WHAT RIGHTS DO BRITISH CITIZENS HAVE?
Britain's Citizen's Rights are protected by the Civil and Criminal
Governments have to balance:
- The police, the Magistrates Courts and the Crown Courts enforce the Criminal
Law. Criminal courts can sentence people to Community Service, Fines or Prison
- The Civil Law is settled in the County Courts and the High Courts, where citizens
can sue each other for damages.
- King John granted the Great Charter Magna Carta in the 1200's. Since
then, the government cannot take anything from a citizen or harm them in any
way, unless they have been accused and found guilty of an offence. British citizens
have the right not to be kept in prison, without being charged with an offence.
This is the law of Habeus Corpus. Even for the most terrible crimes, citizens
may not be tortured or killed because Britain does not allow 'Capital Punishment'.
- Where did the idea of 'Citizen's Rights' come from? The 'Rights
of man and the Citizen', published during the French Revolution (1789)
and the 'Bill of Rights' that formed part of the American Constitution
(1792) set out the key ideas: 'that people have inalienable rights and
that amongst these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness'.
- The United Nations Charter (1945) created a list of Human Rights. The European
Convention on Human Rights made a detailed list in 1950. The Maasstricht Treaty
with the European Union guaranteed all the members of the Union the same human
rights, in each other's countries. The Human Rights Act of 2000 gives
us a complete list of our rights as citizens.
- The Rights of Children are protected by: the Children's Charter. These
include the right not to be sexually abused or exploited.
- Some of these are 'Fundamental Rights' that can never be taken
away: like a freedom from torture. Some are 'Procedural Rights':
like the right to a fair trial. Some are 'Qualified Rights': like
the right to keep your property or to be free. Citizens have 'Responsibilities'
as well as rights and governments can charge their citizens taxes, or put them
prison if they break the law.
- Individual freedom to act as we choose
- The freedom of the whole community
from the bad actions of some individuals.
- The government introduced Citizenship
to the National Curriculum in schools, so that people would be more aware
of their rights.
- Terrorism and Asylum seekers have led the government to consider
the introduction of National Identity Cards. Civil Liberties groups argue
that this would invade
The Human Rights Act 2000 includes:
- Freedom of expression in a Free Press & Media
- Freedom of faith and
- Right to privacy
- Right to liberty
- Right to a fair trial
- Freedom from torture
- Freedom from discrimination and racism
- Right to an education
- Right to a free vote in a fair general election.
- Right to a Healthy
Diet & Health Care
Children's Employment Act:No child can work under 13.
13-16: No more than
2 hours on a school day or a any Sunday
Not before 7 am or after 7 pm
No heavy or unsafe working
Citizens have Rights and Responsibilities
The United Nations Charter lists Human Rights
The European Union Guarantees all Citizens of Europe the same Rights
The Human Rights Act of 2000 is British & European Law
Fundamental Rights can never be taken away. Some Rights are Qualified:
these are rights that can be taken away where the freedom of an individual
threaten the freedom of Society as a whole.
Consumers have rights,
when they buy things from private companies or the Government:
Employment Law protects citizen's rights at work:
- 1979 Sale
of Goods Act: if the goods aren't up to scratch or they don't
work or they aren't the same as what was advertised, then the
can have his or her money back.
- 1987 Consumer protection Act: it is illegal
to sell goods that are dangerous or to pretend they have been
reduced in price, if they haven't been.
- 1994 Supply of Goods & Services: services,
like advice on money or a haircut, also have to be of a reasonable,
price, reliability and standard.
- Sale of Food & Drugs Act. Must be pure,
safe and healthy and must have required information on the packaging.
- The 1991 Citizen's Charter listed the service that people should
demand from Government departments, like the Health Service, Schools
Social Services. Citizens who are unhappy with their treatment
can complain and
done about it.
- Health and Safety at Work Act gives workers the right to a safe working
- Employment Protection prevents unfair dismissal
- Disability discrimination
protects disabled workers.
- Sex Discrimination Act protects people from
being denied work on account of their sex.
- Equal pay Act gives people
the same wage for the same job.
- National Minimum Wage sets a minimum
- Maternity Leave is a right for all women.
Consumers have rights, when buying Goods and Services:
Must work, Exchange, Safety, Reasonable Price & Correctly Advertised
Employees have rights protecting them from unfair treatment:
Safety, Unfair Dismissal, Sex Discrimination, Equal Pay, Minimum Wage