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7 The Human Rights Act

Download The Human Rights Act (PDF File, 1.92Mb)

1. Introduction

2. Where did the Human Rights Act start?

3. How does the Human Rights Act work?

4. What can I do if I think my rights have been breached?

5. Which cases doesn´t the Act cover?

6. The articles of the Act in detail

7. The protocols in detail

The protocols are new parts of the Convention, added since the Convention was first written.

Protocol 1 Article 1: Protection of property
'Property' has a very wide meaning. It can include shares, a pension, welfare benefits that you have contributed to by paying national insurance, or even the right to sue someone.

The article says the Government or a public authority cannot take your property away from you unless the law states that it can and it is in the public interest to do so. If your property is taken away, you should be able to claim compensation.

The article also says the Government or a public authority cannot restrict what you do with your property, unless there is a law that allows them to do this and there is a good reason for it. However, the article does not affect the right of the Government or a public authority to take or control your property to force you to pay taxes or fines.

Protocol 1 Article 2: Right to education
This gives everyone the right to go to school and the right to apply to university or college, but it does not stop schools and colleges choosing the people they will accept. It says the Government should make sure that the education is of a reasonable standard. This applies to private as well as state schools.

The Article says the Government and schools must respect the religious views and other serious beliefs of a child's parents, but it does not give people the right to a particular type of education for their children.

Protocol 1 Article 3: Right to free elections
This says the Government must hold elections at reasonable intervals and that the elections must be by secret ballot. The article gives people the right to vote or to stand in elections, although there are some restrictions on this right. It does not say what type of election system the Government should use. A prisoner has used this article to challenge the complete ban on prisoners voting.

Protocol 6 Articles 1 and 2, Protocol 13: Abolition of the death penalty
The sixth protocol abolished the death penalty in Britain, but originally it still allowed for the death penalty during war time or when war is about to break out. However, more recently, Britain signed Article 1 of the thirteenth protocol, which bans the death penalty completely, so it now cannot be used at any time.

8. Further Help

9. About this leaflet

This leaflet is published by the Gurkha Free Legal Advice (LSC). It was written in association with Liberty.

Leaflet version: September 2006