The Human Rights Act 1998

The Human Rights Act 1998 was famously designed to ‘‘bring rights home’’. It binds public authorities in the UK to respect our rights, and allows individuals to seek redress in the UK courts when public policy or practice violates fundamental human rights such as the right to life, the right to a fair hearing and the right to respect for private and family life. The Act came into force in October 2000 and, in this short time, it has become an important and vital part of our justice system.

JUSTICE supported the introduction of the Human Rights Act and provided training to Government Departments and public bodies on its scope and application. Since its introduction, its provisions have been at the heart of our work.

Most recently, we have worked to protect the Act and its guarantees from unwarranted political criticism. We have produced in-depth research to inform the debate on a Bill of Rights for the UK. We continue to emphasise the important role which the Human Rights Act 1998 plays in the devolution settlement within the UK. We use our wider work to illustrate the importance of the Act for the protection of individual rights within our justice system and for good government.

JUSTICE is concerned that proposals to repeal the Human Rights Act and would undermine the ability of us all to vindicate our rights within the domestic justice system and could endanger the UK’s global commitment to the international rule of law.
Sir Keir Starmer QC, delivered his Tom Sargent Lecture on this theme – Human Rights and the General Election 2015: How High are the Stakes? – for JUSTICE on 15 October 2015.