The Human Rights Act 1998
Ensuring rights for all
The Human Rights Act is possibly the most important piece of legislation in the UK regarding human rights. It came into effect in 2000 and is concerned with enforcing the terms of European Convention on Human Rights in UK Law. In this section you will find advice and information on several aspects of the Act, including:
- how the Act works
- taking a case to the European Court of Human Rights
- rights under the Convention.
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The Origin of the Human Rights Act
The Human Rights Act came into effect in October 2000, having been made law two years earlier.
The purpose of the act was to officially make most of the rights granted by the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) a part of UK law. The ECHR, which itself came into effect back in 1953, had granted UK citizens with basic human rights long before the introduction of the HRA.
However, the ECHR was not officially recognised in UK law, meaning that if a UK citizen believed that his or her rights had been violated, they would need to take their case all the way to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
With the HRA in effect, UK citizens can settle their human rights' cases in domestic courts, without having to leave the country. Complainants can still take their cases to Strasbourg, but the European Court of Human Rights will only consider a case once it has been through the UK courts.
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