Convention rights—compatibility
Produced in partnership with Alexander Campbell of Field Court Chambers
Convention rights—compatibility

The following Public Law guidance note Produced in partnership with Alexander Campbell of Field Court Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Convention rights—compatibility
  • Parliamentary statements of compatibility
  • Incompatibility
  • Cases where a declaration has been made
  • Declarations of incompatibility

Parliamentary statements of compatibility

The Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA 1998) is designed not only to give people a remedy when their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) have been breached, but also to encourage governments and Parliament to give greater thought during the legislative process to whether an intended piece of legislation will be compatible with Convention rights.

HRA 1998, s 19 requires a Minister of the Crown in either House of Parliament, before the second reading of a Bill, to make a statement to the effect that the Bill is compatible with Convention rights or, alternatively, to the effect that they are unable to make such a statement, but the government wishes Parliament to proceed with the Bill in any event.

The form of the statement of compatibility

The statement of compatibility must be in writing, but there is no prescribed manner in which the statement must be published. The statement must be published in such manner(s) as the minister making it considers appropriate.

Forms of legislation which require a statement of compatibility

HRA 1998, s 19 only applies to Bills (ie to primary legislation). Nevertheless the government has decided to require ministers to express a view as to the compatibility of secondary legislation as well. This requirement is, however, not a requirement under HRA 1998.