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

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—structure of qualified rights
  • What Convention rights are qualified rights?
  • When can the rights be interfered with?
  • Interference must be ‘in accordance with the law’
  • The interference must be necessary in a democratic society
  • The interference must be proportionate
  • Limitations on restrictions

The rights preserved under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), as set out in the Human Rights Act 1998 Sch 1, can be broadly divided into three groups:

  1. absolute rights—which cannot be interfered with by the state or derogated from even in a state of emergency

  2. limited rights—which may be interfered with in certain strict circumstances

  3. qualified rights—which have to be balanced against the public interest and may therefore be interfered with, subject to a number of conditions set out in the relevant provisions

This Practice Note identifies what qualified rights are, and examines the conditions which need to apply in order for an interference with those rights to be permitted under the ECHR.

What Convention rights are qualified rights?

Articles of the ECHR considered to be qualified rights are:

  1. Article 8—the right to respect for private and family life

  2. Article 9—the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion

  3. Article 10—the right to freedom of expression

  4. Article 11—the right to freedom of assembly and association

When can the rights be interfered with?

Articles 8, 9, 10 and 11 contain a breakdown of conditions which must apply in order for an interference with the right concerned to be justified.

In broad terms the conditions are similar for each of these rights, in that they all require any interference