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20 years of the Human Rights Act: JCHR marks anniversary

9 November 2018

Joint Committee on Human Rights publishes memorandum on the Human Rights Act for the twentieth anniversary of the Royal Assent to the Human Rights Act.

Impact of the Act

The Committee called for evidence and received over 30 thought provoking responses from individuals and organisations, reflecting on impact of the Act.
To mark the anniversary, the Committee has asked its Chair, Rt Hon Harriet Harman MP, to prepare a memorandum drawing out the key points from the evidence. The document includes evidence on:

  • the effectiveness of the Act in enabling people to secure their rights in the British courts, rather than having to go to Strasbourg
  • the trend in European Court of Human Rights judgments against the UK
  • the effect of UK judgements on ECtHR jurisprudence
  • the relationship between the courts and Parliament
  • the practical effects of s6 of the Act, which makes it unlawful for public bodies to act in a way which is incompatible with Convention rights.

Chair's comments

Harriet Harman MP, the Chair of the Committee, said:

"Today marks twenty years since the Human Rights Act was passed.

It is worth reflecting on the difference the Act has made.

Now public service providers, such as the police, prisons or health service, all think about human rights. And before the Human Rights Act, if your human rights were abused, you had to go to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, which took a further five years and an extra £30,000 after you had been through the courts in the UK.

Most people could not enforce their rights. Now you can go to court in the UK and get your rights enforced and protected."

Further information

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