Blog Book Review. A Practical Guide to Your Human Rights and Civil Liberties by Dr Michael Arnheim

By peter on 20th March 2017

With the UK entering a new phase in its dealings with Europe, this comprehensive and clearly-worded guide will be a great help to people trying to understand their rights in the wake of the Brexit vote.   Written by experienced Human Rights barrister and noted author Dr. Michael Arnheim, A Practical Guide to Your Human Rights and Civil Liberties takes a broad look at all aspects of human rights and liberties for UK citizens.   There is no shortage of books on human rights, but where this title differs is that it not only covers the Human Rights Act but the whole span of human rights, including Magna Carta and the Common Law, which embody fundamental rights that are often ignored or misinterpreted.   In straightforward prose that avoids complicated language, and which succinctly explains the meaning behind the common legal jargon, the book clearly structures its content to be easily accessible and highly practical.   The first chapter outlines where British citizens’ rights actually come from, including the Magna Carta, natural rights, acts of parliament including the Human Rights Act and the powers held by bodies under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).   The second chapter, “A Fistful of Fallacies,” exposes the ”politically correct”  hype surrounding human rights put out by the civil rights “lobby” and also shows how to recognise and react against ‘judicial supremacism’ – that is, judges interpreting the law with their own agenda in mind.   The remaining chapters address specific rights, many of which are in practice enjoyed primarily by special interest groups, such as terror suspects, asylum seekers, illegal immigrants and even convicted killers – at the expense of law-abiding members of society.    These include the Right to Life, the Right to Freedom of Expression, the Right to Privacy and the Right to a Fair Trial. The last chapter is a lively Socratic Dialogue in Q&A format.   Arnheim, the author of 19 books including two previous books on human rights, looks at the subject from the perspective of those who might find themselves accused of human rights breaches as well as of those making such allegations.    Likewise, the book recognizes that both parties in a human rights dispute have rights, how different human rights can clash, and also provides winning strategies for human rights cases in court as well as how to avoid such a case ending up in court in the first place.   By so doing, it’s likely to be a huge help to law students and legal professionals but will also appeal to the ‘man on the street’ looking to gain a better understanding of where they stand in relation to the sovereign powers at home, at work and in public places.   Arnheim, a Sometime Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge, has an enormous amount of experience in the field, and his straight-talking (though never dumbed down) approach to our rights offers an excellent and valuable go-to resource. A Practical Guide to your Human Rights and Civil Liberties by Dr Michael Arnheim (Straightforward Publishing) is available now in paperback, priced £10.99, and as an eBook priced £4.99.