Public authorities under the Human Rights Act 1998
Produced in partnership with Alexander Campbell of Field Court Chambers
Public authorities under the Human Rights Act 1998

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:

  • Public authorities under the Human Rights Act 1998
  • The legislative background
  • Core public authorities
  • Non-core public authorities

The Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA 1998) requires public authorities not to act in ways which are incompatible with the rights guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Only if a body is a public authority is it vulnerable to a claim that it has breached the ECHR. Therefore it is vital to be able to determine what makes a body a public authority for the purposes of HRA 1998. In some cases it is clear cut whether a body is a public authority or not, but in many cases the situation is far more nuanced. In those cases it is necessary to look to guidance given by the courts on the topic of what makes a body a public authority.

The legislative background

Section 6 of HRA 1998 states:

Acts of public authorities

(1) It is unlawful for a public authority to act in a way which is incompatible with a Convention right.

(3) In this section “public authority” includes—

(a) a court or tribunal, and

(b) any person certain of whose functions are functions of a public nature,

but does not include either House of Parliament or a person exercising functions in connection with proceedings in Parliament.

(5) In relation to a particular act, a person is not a public authority by virtue only of subsection (3)(b) if the nature of the