One principle of lawful decision-making held over from Chapter 1 concerns respect for human rights and equality. Bingham (2011) argues strongly that the law must protect fundamental rights but indicates that there are gaps in the protection it affords in the UK. Nonetheless, human rights law acts as a check, not always welcomed, on arbitrary government, particularly on questions relating to liberty and fair trials. Similarly, Sachs (2009) stresses the importance of commitment to a society founded on human rights. In everything that the state does, recognition should be given to the values of a right to life and dignity. He argues that human rights should be extended beyond civil and political to socioeconomic concerns in order to guarantee people the minimum decencies of life. He cautions that people should be sceptical of the law’s pretensions but never cynical of its possibilities. The same may equally be said of social work and its espoused commitment to human rights, equality and social justice.
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