Paul Johnson
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Beliefs about the European Court of Human Rights in the United Kingdom Parliament
in Law in popular belief
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This chapter examines an aspect of myth building about law that is often overlooked, namely the role of Parliamentarians in shaping public beliefs about the European Court of Human Rights. Through an examination of recent debates in both Houses of Parliament about what became the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, the chapter illustrates how current public mistrust of the Court stems in part from ideas propagated by politicians during the course of Parliamentary debates. Specifically, the author shows the process by which two different myths about the Court have been created: first, that the Court poses a risk to the rights and freedoms of a significant group of people that national legislators, regardless of the laws that they pass, are unable to defend; second, that the Court has an inherent bias against religious groups and their adherents. The chapter demonstrates how seemingly factual legal arguments are used to strengthen and promulgate these myths. Ultimately, it shows how even at the heart of law, in the very places where law itself is made, myths about law are created and retained.

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Law in popular belief

Myth and reality


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