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Draft of the United States Bill of Rights, also from 1789 A bill of rights, sometimes called a declaration of rights or a charter of rights, is a list of the most important
rights Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory. ...
to the citizens of a country. The purpose is to protect those rights against infringement from public officials and private citizens. Bills of rights may be '' entrenched'' or ''unentrenched''. An entrenched bill of rights cannot be amended or repealed by a country's legislature through regular procedure, instead requiring a supermajority or referendum; often it is part of a country's constitution, and therefore subject to special procedures applicable to constitutional amendments. A bill of rights that is ''not entrenched'' is a normal
statute law Statutory law or statute law is written law passed by a body of legislature. This is as opposed to oral or customary law; or regulatory law promulgated by the executive or common law of the judiciary. Statutes may originate with national, state le ...
and as such can be modified or repealed by the legislature at will. In practice, not every jurisdiction enforces the protection of the rights articulated in its bill of rights.


History

The history of legal
charter A charter is the grant of authority or rights, stating that the granter formally recognizes the prerogative of the recipient to exercise the rights specified. It is implicit that the granter retains superiority (or sovereignty), and that the reci ...
s asserting certain rights for particular groups goes back to the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted from the 5th to the late 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and transitioned into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages i ...
and earlier. An example is
Magna Carta (Medieval Latin for "Great Charter of Freedoms"), commonly called (also ''Magna Charta''; "Great Charter"), is a royal charter of rights agreed to by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, on 15 June 1215. First drafted by Archb ...

Magna Carta
, an English legal charter agreed between the King and his barons in 1215. In the
early modern period#REDIRECT Early modern period#REDIRECT Early modern period {{Redirect category shell|1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell|1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
, there was renewed interest in Magna Carta.
English common law English law is the common law legal system of England and Wales, comprising mainly criminal law and civil law, each branch having its own courts and procedures. Principal elements of English law Although the common law has, historically, been ...
judge Sir
Edward Coke Sir Edward Coke ( "cook", formerly ; 1 February 1552 – 3 September 1634) was an English barrister, judge, and politician who is considered to be the greatest jurist of the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras. Born into an upper-class family, Coke ...
revived the idea of rights based on citizenship by arguing that Englishmen had historically enjoyed such rights. The
Petition of Right 1628 The Petition of Right, passed on 7 June 1628, is an English constitutional document setting out specific individual protections against the state, reportedly of equal value to Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights 1689. It was part of a wider co ...
, the
Habeas Corpus Act 1679 The Habeas Corpus Act 1679 is an Act of Parliament in England (31 Cha. 2 c. 2) during the reign of King Charles II. It was passed by what became known as the Habeas Corpus Parliament to define and strengthen the ancient prerogative writ of ''hab ...
and the
Bill of Rights 1689 The Bill of Rights 1689, also known as the Bill of Rights 1688, is a landmark Act in the constitutional law of England that sets out certain basic civil rights and clarifies who would be next to inherit the Crown. It received the Royal Assent on ...
established certain rights in statute. In America, the English Bill of Rights was one of the influences on the 1776
Virginia Declaration of Rights The Virginia Declaration of Rights was drafted in 1776 to proclaim the inherent rights of men, including the right to reform or abolish "inadequate" government. It influenced a number of later documents, including the United States Declaration o ...
, which in turn influenced the
United States Declaration of Independence The United States Declaration of Independence is the pronouncement adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 4, 1776. The Declaration explained why the Thirteen Colonies at war with the Kingdom o ...
later that year. After the
Constitution of the United States The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. This founding document, originally comprising seven articles, delineates the national frame of government. Its first three articles embody the doctrine ...
was adopted in 1789, the
United States Bill of Rights The United States Bill of Rights comprises the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. Proposed following the often bitter 1787–88 debate over the ratification of the Constitution, and written to address the objections raise ...
was ratified in 1791. Inspired by the
Age of Enlightenment The Age of Enlightenment (also known as the Age of Reason or simply the Enlightenment); ger|Aufklärung, "Enlightenment"; it|L'Illuminismo, "Enlightenment"; pl|Oświecenie , "Enlightenment"; pt|Iluminismo, "Enlightenment"; es|link=no|La ...
, the
Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (french: Déclaration des droits de l'homme et du citoyen de 1789|links=no), set by France's National Constituent Assembly in 1789, is a human civil rights document from the French Revolution ...
asserted the universality of rights. It was adopted in 1789 by France's National Constituent Assembly, during the period of the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General of 1789 and ended in November 1799 with the formation of the French Consulate. Many of its ideas are considered fundamental principles of Western liberal de ...
. The 20th century saw different groups draw on these earlier documents for influence when drafting the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is an international document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly that enshrines the rights and freedoms of all human beings. It was accepted by the General Assembly as Resolution 217 d ...
, the
European Convention on Human Rights The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) (formally the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms) is an international convention to protect human rights and political freedoms in Europe. Drafted in 1950 by t ...
and the
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (commonly abbreviated as the CRC or UNCRC) is an international human rights treaty which sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children. The Conve ...
.


Exceptions in Western democracies

The
constitution of the United Kingdom The Constitution of the United Kingdom or British constitution comprises the written and unwritten arrangements that establish the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as a political body. Unlike in most countries, such as the US ...
remains uncodified. However, the Bill of Rights of 1689 is part of UK law. The
Human Rights Act 1998 The Human Rights Act 1998 (c. 42) is an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom which received Royal Assent on 9 November 1998, and came into force on 2 October 2000. Its aim was to incorporate into UK law the rights contained in the European Conv ...
also incorporates the rights contained in the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law. Recent infringements of liberty, democracy and the rule of law have led to demands for a new comprehensive British Bill of Rights upheld by a new independent Supreme Court with the power to nullify government laws and policies violating its terms

Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixt ...
is the only common law country with neither a constitutional nor federal legislative bill of rights to protect its citizens, although there is ongoing debate in many of Australia's states. In 1973, Federal Attorney-General
Lionel Murphy Lionel Keith Murphy QC (30 August 1922 – 21 October 1986) was an Australian politician, barrister and judge. He was a Senator for New South Wales from 1962 to 1975, serving as Attorney-General in the Whitlam Government, and then sat on the High C ...
introduced a human rights Bill into parliament, although it was never passed. In 1984, Senator Gareth Evans drafted a Bill of Rights, but it was never introduced into parliament, and in 1985, Senator
Lionel Bowen Lionel Frost Bowen, AC (28 December 1922 – 1 April 2012) was an Australian politician and senior Labor Party figure, serving in the ministries of Gough Whitlam and Bob Hawke. He was Deputy Prime Minister of Australia from 1983 to 1990. ...

Lionel Bowen
introduced a bill of rights, which was passed by the
House of Representatives House of Representatives is the name of legislative bodies in many countries and sub-national entitles. In many countries, the House of Representatives is the lower house of a bicameral legislature, with the corresponding upper house often calle ...
, but failed to pass the
Senate The Curia Julia in the [[Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" style="text-decoration: none;"class="mw-redirect" title="Curia Julia in the [[Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the [[Roman Forum A senate is a [[deliberative assembly, often the [[upper hou ...
. Former [[Australian Prime Minister [[John Howard has argued against a bill of rights for Australia on the grounds it would transfer power from elected politicians to unelected [[judges and [[bureaucrats. [[Victoria (Australia)|Victoria,
Queensland Queensland ( ,) is a state situated in northeastern Australia, and is the second-largest and third-most populous Australian state. It is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south r ...
and the
Australian Capital Territory The Australian Capital Territory (ACT), known as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) until 1938, is a federal territory of Australia containing the Australian capital city of Canberra and some surrounding townships. It is located in the south-ea ...
(ACT) are the only states and territories to have a human rights Act. However, the principle of legality present in the Australian judicial system, seeks to ensure that legislation is interpreted so as not to interfere with basic human rights, unless legislation expressly intends to interfere..


List of bills of rights


General


Specifically targeted documents

* Consumer Bill of Rights * Homeless Bill of Rights *
Taxpayer Bill of Rights The Taxpayer Bill of Rights (abbreviated TABOR) is a concept advocated by conservative and free market libertarian groups, primarily in the United States, as a way of limiting the growth of government. It is not a charter of rights but a provision ...
*
Academic Bill of Rights The Academic Bill of Rights (ABOR) is a document created and distributed by Students for Academic Freedom (SAF), a public advocacy group spun off from the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, a think tank founded by the conservative writer Davi ...
, * Veterans' Bill of Rights *
G.I. Bill of Rights The Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, commonly known as the G.I. Bill, was a law that provided a range of benefits for returning World War II veterans (commonly referred to as G.I.s). The original G.I. Bill expired in 1956, but the term "G ...
, better known as the G.I. Bill * Homosexual Bill of Rights, drafted by
North American Conference of Homophile OrganizationsThe North American Conference of Homophile Organizations (NACHO, pronounced "Nay-Ko") was an umbrella organization for a number of homophile organizations. Founded in 1966, the goal of NACHO was to expand coordination among homophile organizations th ...
*
Library Bill of Rights The Library Bill of Rights is the American Library Association's statement expressing the rights of library users to intellectual freedom and the expectations the association places on libraries to support those rights. The Association's Council h ...
, published by the
American Library Association The American Library Association (ALA) is a nonprofit organization based in the United States that promotes libraries and library education internationally. It is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 57,000 me ...
*
Environmental Bill of Rights The ''Environmental Bill of Rights'' (EBR) is a provincial law in Ontario, Canada passed in 1993 to provide a bill of rights to Ontario residents for environmental matters. Significantly, it gives Ontario residents the right to participate in envir ...
or
Agenda 21 Agenda 21 is a non-binding action plan of the United Nations with regard to sustainable development. It is a product of the Earth Summit (UN Conference on Environment and Development) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. It is an action agen ...
*
Creator's Bill of Rights The Creator's Bill of Rights (officially, A Bill of Rights for Comics Creators) was a document drafted in November 1988 by a number of independent comic book artists, writers, and publishers, designed to protect their rights as creators and publishe ...
, comic writers and artists * Donor's Bill of Rights, for philanthropic donors * Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights * California Voter Bill of Rights, adaptation of the
Voting Rights Act The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a landmark piece of federal legislation in the United States that prohibits racial discrimination in voting. It was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson during the height of the civil rights movement on ...
*
Islamic Bill of Rights for Women in the MosqueThe "Islamic Bill of Rights for Women in the Mosque" is a list crafted by Muslim and feminist author Asra Nomani. The Bill made developments in the United States in 2004, headed by thDaughters of Hajarref> History "The Islamic Bill of Rights for Wom ...
* New Jersey Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act * Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights, contained within the
Credit CARD Act of 2009 The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009 is a federal statute passed by the United States Congress and signed by U.S. President Barack Obama on May 22, 2009. It is comprehensive credit card reform legislation ...
* Sexual Assault Survivors' Bill of Rights ( Sexual Assault Survivors' Rights Act)


See also

*
Proposed British Bill of Rights The Proposed British Bill of Rights was a proposal of the Second Cameron ministry, included in their 2015 election manifesto, to replace the Human Rights Act 1998 with a new piece of primary legislation. Background Prior to the 2010 general electio ...
*
Inalienable rights Natural rights and legal rights are the two basic types of rights. * Natural rights are those that are not dependent on the laws or customs of any particular culture or government, and so are ''universal'', ''fundamental'' and ''inalienable'' (t ...
*
International Bill of Human Rights The International Bill of Human Rights was the name given tUN General Assembly Resolution 217 (III)and two international treaties established by the United Nations. It consists of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (adopted in 1948), the Inte ...
*
International human rights instruments International human rights instruments are the treaties and other international texts that serve as legal sources for international human rights law and the protection of human rights in general. There are many varying types, but most can be class ...
*
Natural rights Natural rights and legal rights are the two basic types of rights. * Natural rights are those that are not dependent on the laws or customs of any particular culture or government, and so are ''universal'', ''fundamental'' and ''inalienable'' (t ...
*
Rule of law The rule of law is defined in the ''Oxford English Dictionary'' as "e authority and influence of law in society, especially when viewed as a constraint on individual and institutional behavior; (hence) the principle whereby all members of a soc ...
*
Second Bill of Rights The Second Bill of Rights was proposed by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt during his State of the Union Address on Tuesday, January 11, 1944. In his address, Roosevelt suggested that the nation had come to recognise and should now im ...


References

{{DEFAULTSORT:Bill Of Rights Category:Constitutional law Category:Rights Category:National human rights instruments