An introduction to the Human Rights Act 1998
An introduction to the Human Rights Act 1998

The following Public Law practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • An introduction to the Human Rights Act 1998
  • Convention rights
  • Statement of compatibility
  • Interpretation of the Convention rights
  • Retrospective effect
  • Incompatibility
  • Public authorities
  • Judicial remedies
  • The future

IP COMPLETION DAY: 11pm (GMT) on 31 December 2020 marks the end of the Brexit transition/implementation period entered into following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. At this point in time (referred to in UK law as ‘IP completion day’), key transitional arrangements come to an end and significant changes begin to take effect across the UK’s legal regime. This document contains guidance on subjects impacted by these changes. Before continuing your research, see Practice Note: What does IP completion day mean for public law?

Convention rights

The Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA 1998) came into force in October 2000 and gives effect to the rights contained in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) (the Convention rights). The ECHR is an international binding treaty reflecting the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948. The UK ratified the ECHR in 1951, but it only became binding in UK law with the introduction of the HRA 1998.

In particular, HRA provides:

  1. a remedy in the UK courts for breach of a Convention right without the need for the claimant party to seek redress in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg

  2. that primary legislation and subordinate legislation must be interpreted in a way which is compatible with the Convention rights

  3. the UK courts with the power to make a declaration of 'incompatibility', if that court is

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