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Law and change: Scottish legal heroes
Law and change: Scottish legal heroes

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6.1.1 The ECHR and UK

Before the Human Rights Act 1998, the rights enshrined in the ECHR were not directly enforceable in the Scottish courts or other courts in the UK; they were technically part of international law. Citizens wishing to seek protection from an alleged breach of the ECHR were required to exhaust all domestic remedies before petitioning the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. This often meant incurring considerable expense and long delay.

Box 2 Which institution?

A common misconception (which is often mirrored by reports in the media) is that the Council of Europe, the European Court of Justice and ECHR are the same as the EU institutions and the Court of Justice of the European Union. They are not. The EU institutions and Court of Justice of the European Union are quite different. The UK’s membership of the EU (and therefore the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union) arose from different (and later) international treaties.

Figure 20 and Figure 21 Words associated with human rights