Taking Action: Your Human Rights

Within UK, human rights are protected by the Human Rights Act 1998. If a public authority breaches your human rights, you’ll be ready to take action under the Human Rights Act within the UK courts.

Before taking action

Taking court action is often an extended and stressful process. It also can be expensive. It’s important remember that if you lose the case in court, you’ll need to pay the opposite side’s legal costs which might be high.

If you’re brooding about taking court action, you ought to get advice from an experienced adviser – you can get expert advice by signing up for a Consumer Rights membership here on our site.

When taking legal action

Who’s in breach of your human rights?

Remember it is only possible to take action under the Human Rights Act against a public authority.

Who can take action under the Human Rights Act?

The Human Rights Act permits only the victim of a person’s rights breach can take action under the Act. You’re possibly a victim if you’re personally suffering from the choice or act you’re complaining about, or if there’s a chance to be personally suffering from it.

Are there time limits?

You have to make your application to the court within a year of the act you’re complaining about. However, there could also be stricter deadlines counting on the court action you’re taking . for instance , if you create an application for review , the deadline is three months.

The courts can allow an application outside the one year deadline if they think it’s fair to try to do so. But you’d need to show you’ve got a really good reason for bringing your case outside the deadline .

What type of court action are you able to take?

If you would like to bring a case under the Human Rights Act you would like to make a decision which court you ought to make your application to. this may depend upon what your complaint is about and therefore the remedy you would like the court to order.

For example, with an employment dispute you’d normally take your case to an employment tribunal.


The remedies you’ll get depend upon the sort of court action you’re taking.

The most typical remedies include:

  • financial compensation or damages
  • an order that the general public authority should do something – this is often called an injunction.

A court won’t automatically order financial compensation if it decides your human rights are breached. this relies on whether you’ve suffered a loss that the court thinks you ought to be compensated for.

Judicial Review

  • What’s judicial review?

    Judicial review may be a special procedure you’ll use to challenge decisions made by public authorities. review applications must be made within the supreme court.

    Judicial review can only be used where there are not any better ways of challenging a choice – for instance, if you don’t have a separate right of appeal against the choice .

    For example, if you would like to challenge a choice about welfare benefits you normally have the proper to appeal to a tribunal. you ought to therefore raise the human rights offering ahead of the tribunal instead of making an application for review.

Try to resolve the matter without getting to court first

Before you’re taking court action, you ought to always attempt to resolve your problem in other ways first – for instance, by lecture the general public authority or by using mediation. This is often called alternative dispute resolution. If you don’t do that, it’s going to affect the result of your case.

However, you ought to remember that there are very strict deadlines for creating an application for review. If you’re running out of your time, it’s going to be necessary to issue your claim at court directly. you’ll then ask the court for longer to think about alternative dispute resolution.

  • Are there time limits?

    The application has to be made as quickly as possible and in any case within three months of the act you’re complaining about.

  • Who can create an application for judicial review?

    You can only make an application for review if you’ve got sufficient interest. If you create an application due to your human rights being breached, you’ve got sufficient interest if you’re a victim of the human rights breach.

  • What solutions can the court order?

    When you make an application for review the court will check out how the choice was made instead of if it had been the proper decision.

    If the court thinks the way the choice was made is wrong – for instance , because it breaches your human rights – it can cancel the choice and tell the general public authority to form the choice again. this is often called a quashing order. The court also can offer you financial compensation if you’ve suffered a loss.

    Other things the court can do include:

    order the general public authority to try to to something – this is often called a compulsory order
    order the general public authority to not do something – this is often called a prohibiting order.
    Using human rights in actions brought against you

    You can also use the Human Rights Act in court if a public authority takes action against you.


    You’re a social housing tenant and therefore the agency wants to evict you due to rent arrears. They take you to court to urge a possession order. you’ll be ready to believe your article 8 rights which protect your right to non-public and family life as a defence to the proceedings against you.

When you have decided that you simply want to require action a few human rights offering, you’ll need further help about employing a solicitor and determine if you’ll get help together with your legal costs.

Useful sources:

Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS)

The EASS helpline can provide advice and knowledge on human rights and discrimination issues.

Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)

You can find useful information about discrimination on the EHRC website at www.equalityhumanrights.com

Public Law Project

For more information about the way to make an application for review see the general public Law project website at www.publiclawproject.org.uk


For more information and advice on the various rights protected under the Human Rights Act attend Liberty’s website at www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/

British Institute of Human Rights

You can also find more information about human rights in Your human rights guides from British Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) at www.bihr.org.uk

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