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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The Human Rights Act (1998) and its impact on reproductive issues.

The Human Rights Act (HR Act) 1998 (UK) (Human Rights Act, 1998) came into effect on October 2, 2000. Instead of taking a case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, litigants can enforce their rights in the UK. The Act will have an unprecedented effect in virtually all areas of the UK legal systems. In line with those countries who have incorporated the 'Convention' in domestic law, litigation is expected to increase. The extensive body of Convention law, as well as decisions of the domestic courts of other states which have incorporated the Convention, now becomes an integral part of UK jurisprudence. Broadly, the Act applies to public and not private bodies. The relevant bodies which embody reproductive issues and concerns are for example the National Health Service (NHS) and the regulatory bodies such as the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) (Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority Act, 1990) and the Human Genetics Advisory Commission (HGAC). A profound impact on the NHS practice, interpretations of the HFEA Act and its Code of Practice can be envisaged in relation to the Convention rights. Cases involving reproductive issues are already emerging in relation to the HR Act and which include sex selection, the present embryo transfer policy, interpretation of fatherless offspring and the provision of fertility services under the NHS. This review is intended to raise awareness of the HR Act 1998 for persons interested in human reproductive issues and how the HR Act could impact on the current laws and practice. Whilst it is only possible to speculate on what might happen in relation to the HR Act, what is certain is that UK law will radically change to accommodate the requirements of the HR Act 1998.[1]


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