A BLANK CHEQUE TO MAKE UP LAW; Human Rights Act Lets Us Override MPs, Admits Britain's Top Judge

Daily Mail (London), August 12, 2014 | Go to article overview

A BLANK CHEQUE TO MAKE UP LAW; Human Rights Act Lets Us Override MPs, Admits Britain's Top Judge


Byline: Steve Doughty Social Affairs Correspondent, Additional reporting: David Gardner and Sian Boyle

THE Human Rights Act has given courts a blank cheque to make up the law, a senior judge said yesterday.

Lord Neuberger, who is the president of the Supreme Court, said the Act effectively gives the views of the judiciary precedence over Parliament. He said this extra power for judges was a good thing - because it helped to keep governments in check.

British judges have increasingly defied ministers since the Act was passed by Labour in 1998. The Appeal Court shot down rules to prevent sham marriages by ruling they discriminated against immigrants. And judges have used the Act to dismantle attempts to control terror suspects.

In his landmark speech, Lord Neuberger cited a key judgment from June in which the Supreme Court declared it privacy during our time of profound grief. As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin's death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.' His publicist said in a statement: 'Robin Williams passed away this morning. He has been battling severe depression of late. This is a tragic and sudden loss.

'The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.' Fellow comic actor Steve Martin said: 'I could not be more stunned by the loss of Robin Williams, mensch, great talent, acting partner, genuine soul.' Last month Williams entered a Minnesota rehabilitation centre to help him maintain sobriety. His representatives at the time said he was not using drugs or alcohol but had gone there to 'fine-tune and focus' after working a longer-thanusual schedule.

Born in Chicago, Williams won his Academy Award for best supporting actor in Good Will Hunting.

He was also known for films including Dead Poets' Society, Aladdin, Mrs Doubtfire and Good Morning Vietnam. He appeared in the television series Happy Days and Mork and Mindy.

Henry Winkler, who played the Fonz in Happy Days, tweeted: 'Robin Williams was like no other. To watch him create on the spot was a privilege to behold.'

Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres said: 'I can't believe the news about Robin Williams. He gave so much to so many people. I'm heartbroken.' The actor had more than 1million followers on Twitter.

British celebrities also tweeted their condolences. Boy George said: 'Robin Williams is gone. What a crying shame. It's raining in Ohio. I met him fleetingly and he had light in his eyes! He was adorable!' Sharon Osbourne said: 'I'm so sad and devastated to hear of the passing of Robin Williams. My thoughts are with his family.' Graham Norton said: 'Such sad news. My heart goes out to his family.' His last tweet was on August 1, in which he wished his daughter Zelda a happy birthday and uploaded a picture to Instagram. His other children are Zachary Pym and Cody Alan. …

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