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Human rights are concerned with how individuals are treated by the state. They attempt to protect dignity. Unlike in the US, where people’s rights are listed in the Bill of Rights, people in the UK are entitled to do anything which is not prohibited by law. Dicey said that there was no need for a list of particular rights as executive power is checked by Parliament and the courts.
Common law protection
Dicey’s view, in many cases, has been confirmed. In Beatty v Gillbanks , the courts confirmed the right to protest and in Entick v Carrington , the courts protected a right to private enjoyment of land. Furthermore in A v Secretary of State for Home Affairs (no. 2) , the House of Lords said that they would compel the exclusion of evidence obtained by torture.
No common law protection
However, the common law may not be as effective as we would like. If citizens are free to do anything not prohibited by law, so is the executive. As such, in Malone v Metropolitan Police Commissioner , there was ruled nothing unlawful about the Police listening in on Malone’s telephone conversations. In Liversage v Anderson , the House of Lords warned against the effectiveness of Dicey’s viewpoint. They said that the courts will protect civil liberties, but a sovereign Parliament is entitled to enact legislation which interfered with liberties...
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