Individual rights must be sacrosanct

Regardless of who is elected on whatever platform, a constitution absolutely must constrain the ability of government to subjugate fundamental civil and political rights.  For the absence of doubt, these rights apply to all adults (children do not have unlimited criminal, contract or political rights and responsibilities).

This includes:

-The right to live one's life as you see fit, including control over your own body (limited only when one acts criminally against others or their property), including the right to not be subjected to torture, to not have one's life taken without consent, to not be enslaved and the right to reasonable self defence (including the exercise of it on behalf of others), and to associate with whoever you wish

- The right to freedom of expression, limited only by the rightful exercise of property rights (no right to use private platforms or intellectual property of others without permission), defamation and the rights of victims of crime (i.e. child pornography).

- The right to own and have undisturbed peaceful enjoyment of private property, including the right to reasonable defence of it, limited only by respecting the rights of others to do the same through laws of trespass and tort, and that human beings cannot be property.

- The right to freedom of contract, limited only by contracts that are not to infringe any of the other rights, or which limit that freedom in others.

- Independence of the judiciary from influence or direction from any party with a direct or indirect interest in proceedings. Including the right to appeal decisions of any lower court and the full range of basic judicial rights (including to question prosecution witnesses, to see prosecution evidence, to

- Maintaining the basic framework of liberal democracy, with regular elections, administered by an independent agency which determines constituency boundaries and administers electoral law independent of any party or government.

Government may be constituted that respects these rights and cannot pass laws that limit or deny these rights.


1) Government may be constituted that respects the rights and powers of citizens, and cannot pass laws to limit or deny these rights, nor have rights or powers greater than those of citizens as follows:

i) The right to not have one's life ended without one's consent;

ii) The right to control one's own body (this should cover torture)

iv) The right to the liberty to pursue one's own life (this should cover slavery);

v) The right to self defence (including defence of one's own property or to exercise the defence of others);

vi) The right to freedom of association;

vii) The right to freedom of expression, limited only by the property rights of others (including ownership of reputation, intellectual property and the right to victims of crime in respect of recordings of the said crime)

viii) The right to own and have reasonable undisturbed peaceful enjoyment of private property.

ix) The right to freedom of contract (excluding contracts that violate the rights of others)

2) These rights are limited to the extent that the exercise of these rights infringes upon the rights of others, and reasonable actions are taken to enforce the defence of those rights, including the application by the state of a system of law, order and justice to enforce such rights, and the establishment of national defence forces

3) The rights of children or those without the capability to grant consent or exercise such rights shall be held in trust by their parents, appointed guardians or others in the exercise of professional emergency care, who are required to exercise those rights in trust as a reasonable person would do so.

edited on Apr 14, 2015 by Scott Wilson

Christine Farquharson Apr 7, 2015

In order to start off commenting in phase 2, here's a summary of some of what was discussed during the first phase:

- There was some confusion over whether this idea belongs in the Government or the Rights and Duties section, but LibertyscottUK argues that the inclusion of fundamental rights is designed to limit the government. (1 up)

- Tom Austin: The rights and role of the citizen should mirror those of the state, so e.g. the citizen has a right to defend him/herself just as the state has a right to defend itself.

Supporters: clairefinn54 (1 up), JimF (2 up), IanSmith1 (but with the caveat that this is not an exhaustive list) (1 up, 1 down)

Mark Cooke Apr 11, 2015

I can't see the point in adopting any set of rights which differs from the ECHR - this simply plays into the hands of those who want a 'British' set of rights,  which weakens the international political pressure to maintain human rights standards.

How would you address the need for derogation at times of emergencies?  

Scott Wilson Apr 12, 2015

The purpose of this set is that in some cases they go beyond the ECHR.  Articles 9 and 10 of the ECHR heavily dilute the specific rights (e.g. freedom of speech is restricted by the "protection of health and morals", which is carte blanche to justify laws on blasphemy, sexual information or erotica).  There is nothing about freedom of contract, nothing about private property (beyond a protocol related to "personal possessions" which clearly excludes land, buildings, money).  There is more about the ECHR that I don't believe goes far enough (the state can institute compulsory service).  

Happy to have derogation at times of emergencies for property rights in instances which are necessary to protect life.  Unsure what other rights need to be constrained in such cases, but happy to discuss.

Andrew Bulovsky Apr 13, 2015

Thank you for the good discussion thus far, everyone. Let's focus away from the merits of this being a "good" or "bad" idea and instead focus on the specific language.

Are there amendments to LiberyScottUK's proposed ideas?

Tom Austin Apr 13, 2015

The rights of the individual under the Constitution:

i - All shall be accorded the right to; Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

ii - All shall be afforded the right to defend themselves, to defend others, and their lawful property.

iii - All shall be assumed as acting in defence as described in (ii) above, it shall be at all times for the police to establish otherwise.

Scott Wilson Apr 14, 2015

I've amended the proposal to more clearly encapsulate what I was trying to do, which was to limit the role of government in terms of infringing upon fundamental rights.  The second and third provisions are designed to cover the obvious role of the state in apprehending those who are rights violators, and the trust in which rights are held for children, or those disabled or incapacitated (including temporarily) in ways that make them unable to express preferences.