Who is covered by the act


The Human Rights Act 1998 applies to all public authorities. It makes it unlawful for bodies like the police, government departments, local councils etc. to violate the rights contained in the European Convention on Human Rights. The Human Rights Act does not impose duties directly on private individuals or companies unless they are performing public functions. For instance, a private security company looking after prisoners for the police will be bound by the Act.

All courts and tribunals are public authorities for the purposes of the Human Rights Act and will be under a duty to respect Convention rights - particularly the right to a fair trial.  Some rights expressed in the Human Rights Act impose positive duties on public authorities to prevent violation of rights.


Nelson Says: "Fight for your rights"


It has been argued that the Human Rights Act can also assist in some areas of private law. For example as courts and tribunals are public authorities Human Rights Act arguments could be used as a defence in Employment Tribunal actions where the employer is seeking to rely on evidence gained through surveillance of employees.

Any person who is a victim of a violation can use the Human Rights Act. A victim includes anyone directly affected by the actions - or inactions - of any public body. A victim might include a person not necessarily directly affected by the action of a public body but indirectly affected. For instance a person who is likely to be subject to surveillance by the police will be able to use the Human Rights Act even though they have not yet had their privacy interfered with. However a person who is no more affected than any other member of the public is unlikely to be able to use the Human Rights Act.

Where there has been a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights - or even where there is about to be - the victim can take proceedings in court under the Human Rights Act. They may be able to take judicial review proceedings, obtain an injunction to stop the violation, force the public authority to take action or obtain damages and compensation.

Under the Human Rights Act 1998 old judge-made law - the common law -will have to change if it does not respect the rights in the European Convention on Human Rights.

Article 2 to 12 and 14 to 18 of the European Convention on Human Rights plus Article 1 to 3 of the First Protocol to the Convention have been incorporated into UK law by the Human Rights Act.


Although the Human Rights Act 1998 incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights into domestic law, it is still possible to take cases to Europe.

How to get redress   The Protection of Property Rights   The Right Not to be Discriminated Against   The Right of Free Expression

The Right of Peaceful Protest   The Right to Know   The Right to Privacy   The Rights of Defendents   The Rights of Prisoners

The Rights of Suspects   The Rights of Travellers   The Rights of Victims and Witnesses   Further Information and Advice

The Human Rights Act   Liberty Website











The AIRE Centre (Advice on Individual Rights in Europe)
Action for the Victims of Medical Accidents
The Advertising Standards Authority
Advisory Centre for Education
Age Concern
Armed Forces Lesbian and Gay Association
Article 19
Association of Nature Reserve Burial Grounds
Association of Police Authorities
The General Council of the Bar
Bar Pro Bono Unit
British Computer Society - Data Protection Committee
The Broadcasting Standards Commission
Campaign for Freedom of Information
Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom
Centre for Corporate Accountability
Charter 88
Children's Rights Alliance for England
Children's Legal Centre
Community Legal Service
Compassionate Friends
Court Service Secretariat for Crown, High, County Courts
Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority
Criminal Records Bureau
Crown Prosecution Service
Cruse Bereavement Care
The Health Service Ombudsman for England
Estate Agents Ombudsman
European Court of Human Rights
The European Ombudsman
Federation of Independent Advice Centres
The Financial Ombudsman Service
The General Medical Council
Global Internet Liberty Campaign
House of Commons
Human Rights Watch
Immigration Advisory Service
The Independent Television Commission
Index on Censorship
Information Commissioner



Inquest (Deaths in Custody)
Intellectual Property
Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants

Human Rights Update, One Crown Office Row
POPS (Partners of Prisoners and Families Support Group)
The Parliamentary Ombudsman
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
Pensions Ombudsman
Police Complaints Authority
Press Complaints Commission
Prison Reform Trust
Prisoners' Families Helpline
Privacy International
Public Concern at Work
Radio Authority
The Refugee Council
Support after Murder and Manslaughter
The Samaritans
Shadow of Suicide
Society of Editors
Solicitors and Legal Resources in UK and Ireland
Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society (SANDS)
The Office for the Supervision of Solicitors
Support after Murder and Manslaughter
The Tariff Unit
The Registrar
UK Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting
UK Patent Office
UK Politics Directory
UKCOSA (UK Council for Overseas Students' Affairs)
Victim Support
Voice for the Child in Care
Wales Local Government Ombudsman
The Welsh Administration Ombudsman
Welsh Health Services Ombudsman
Women in Prison
Women's Aid Federation