HR Act operations

The Human Rights Act (1998) is here.

Before the Human Rights Act, people with human rights grievances had to appeal to the European Court in Strasbourg which has a very long waiting list and is also inconvenient.

The Act “incorporated” the Rights into UK law through its various sections:

Section 1: their availability in every UK court.

Section 3: their overarching function in that new laws must comply with the Rights and also judges must interpret relevant existing laws to be compatible with them.

Section 4: If the judges cannot reasonably do this they must issue a “Certificate of Incompatibility” to the government. At any one time there have been about 20 Certificates awaiting Government attention and in many cases Parliament has amended the old or law created a new one that is compatible, e.g. the Coroners Courts Act 2000, see 1. Middleton. However Parliament has refused to amend the Representation of the People Act (2000) regarding prisoners’ Right to Vote.

Section 6: All public authorities must work compatibly with the Convention Rights. This requirement is quietly helping millions of marginalised and needy people, e.g. severely neglected NHS patients: 1. Degradation and the NHS; asylum seekers: 2. Asylum seekers and many other ethnic minority people; as well as mainstream people in unfortunate circumstances: 1. NHS mental health patients1. Hillsborough.

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