The Human Rights Act 1998 which came into force on 2nd October 2000 gives legal effect in the United Kingdom to those rights and freedoms stated in the European Convention on Human Rights.
The main effect of the Human Rights Act 1998 was to make it clear that the Courts in the United Kingdom should interpret the law of the land in a way that is compatible with those rights are freedoms which are Convention Rights. In addition, the Human Rights Act 1998 also placed an obligation on Public Authorities to act in a way which is compatible with those Convention Rights.
What are my ‘Convention Rights and Freedoms?’
- The right to life
- The right to liberty
- The right to a fair trial
- The right not to be punished for something that wasn’t a crime when you did it
- The right to respect for private and family life
- The right to marry or form a civil partnership and start a family
- The right not to be discriminated against in respect of the rights and freedoms
- The right to own property
- The right to an education
- The right to participate in free elections
- Freedom from torture and degrading treatment
- Freedom from slavery and forced labour
- Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
- Freedom of Expression
- Freedom of Assembly and Association
Claims under the Human Rights Act 1998
If you think that any of your Convention Rights and Freedoms has been breached by a Public Authority or you think that a Public Authority is about to breach one of your Convention Rights and Freedoms then the Human Rights Act 1998 allows you to bring legal proceedings.
What is a Public Authority
The Human Rights Act 1998 does not define a Public Body. However, the police, local council, government agencies and government department will be Public Bodies for the purposes of the act. In some cases it may be unclear and it may require a Court to decide whether or not the Defendant is a Public Body.
Bringing a Claim
Before taking any action you should speak to a solicitor.
If you believe that a Public Authority has breached your convention rights or is going to breach your convention rights you can bring proceedings against that Public Authority. You must, however, be the ‘victim’ of the breach or intended breach of your convention rights.
Essentially, the claim would be about obtaining a declaration that the Public Authority in question has breached your Convention rights or is going to breach your convention rights. If the breach of your Convention Rights is ongoing then an order can be sought to the effect that the Public Authority must stop acting in the manner which they are.
A Claimant may also seek compensation for the breach of their convention rights.
Before any claim can be brought before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), the claim has to have been pursued in the origin country, so claims that arise from the acts of public bodies in England and Wales or Scotland have to have been pursued as far as they can in those countries before the ECHR can be involved
One of our specialist solicitors will be able to advise you on the nature of your action. However, there are time-limits placed on actions under the Human Rights Act but these will depend on the nature of the proceedings.
If the claim is under ‘judicial review’ proceedings the claim must be brought promptly but no more than three months after the occurrence of the decision or action of the Public Authority which it is said to be in breach of your convention rights.
If an application is not made for judicial review then there is a time-limit of one year in which to bring the proceedings.