Dealing with a human rights challenge
Produced in partnership with Eric Metcalfe of Monckton Chambers
Dealing with a human rights challenge

The following Public Law guidance note Produced in partnership with Eric Metcalfe of Monckton Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Dealing with a human rights challenge
  • Background—the relationship between the ECHR and the HRA 1998
  • The Convention rights
  • The scheme of the HRA 1998
  • Who is a 'public authority' for the purposes of HRA 1998?
  • Who is a 'victim' for the purposes of the HRA 1998?
  • What is the nature of the alleged incompatibility?
  • The mirror principle—what outcome would the claimant get in Strasbourg?
  • Time limits
  • Damages

The Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA 1998) imposes a duty on all public authorities in the UK to act in a manner that is compatible with rights under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), ie ‘Convention rights’. For background reading, see Practice Note: Convention rights.

Where this duty is breached, HRA 1998 provides that any victim of that breach may bring proceedings against the public authority responsible (HRA 1998, s 7(1)(a)). In addition, any victim of such a breach may also rely on their Convention rights arguments in any legal proceedings (HRA 1998, s 7(1)(b)).

Background—the relationship between the ECHR and the HRA 1998

The ECHR (ie 'the Convention' as set out in the HRA 1998, Sch 1, Pt 1) is an international treaty made by member states of the Council of Europe. Article 1 of the ECHR requires each member state to secure the rights in the ECHR to everyone within their jurisdiction.

The ECHR also established the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg to determine complaints from individuals and states as to breaches of Convention rights. However, Article 35 of the ECHR provides that individuals may only bring a complaint to the ECtHR once they have exhausted their domestic remedies.

Although the UK ratified the ECHR in March 1951, UK courts were previously unable to give effect to