Human Rights Act - 1998

Human Rights Act 1998 - Thoughts & Main Sections

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- An Introduction to the basics of the Human Rights Act 1998

Thoughts about the HRA 1998

"Over time, the Act will bring about the creation of a human rights culture in will have profound implications for the conduct of public authorities" (Jack Straw)

"A field day for crack pots, a pain in the neck for Judges, and a gold mine for lawyers" (Lord McCluskey)

So whether you hold positive or more critical views of the Human Rights Act, the main thing is it's here to stay. Like much newer legislation brought into UK law, time will remain the truest test of it's usefulness, practical application and if it works in a fair, just, unbiased and effective manner.

The HRA could well be of interest to you if you have a dispute with your Local Authority and you feel your Human Rights may have been overlooked or ignored.

Main Sections and Focus of the HRA 1998

The Human Rights Act categorically states that all public authorities must act in a way which is compatible with the convention rights. This also includes 'Governing Bodies'.

Within specific situations, courts do have the options to do the following:

  • Totally quash and ignore subordinate legislation if applicable. So, in other words, the HRA '98 is the ultimate piece of legislation, it has superior power over other legislation.

  • Courts can make declarations for primary legislation incompatibility (dependent on the situation and those aspects).

Local Authorities have already been mentioned, but any 'victim' or individual acting on their behalf can bring proceedings against a public authority in situations where a breach of a convention right has occurred. An individual can further instigate the convention rights in proceedings.

A 'victim' may be an individual who has been affected in a direct manner by a deliberate or inadvertent failure or omission from a public authority.

It's important to note that there can sometimes be many public interest groups and these do not always fall within the definition of what constitutes a 'victim'.