Natasha: What is the Human Rights Act? It's basically the law that protects all of us having our rights taken away by the state. So yeah, it's pretty important. Role title! The Human Rights Act means that public authorities like hospitals, schools and the government have a legal obligation to uphold our human rights. So no matter who you are, you have a right to be treated properly and with dignity. If our rights are breached, we can go to court and ask a judge to enforce them.

(Image of Judge Dredd appears on screen)

Natasha: Jack!

(Image changes to Baroness Hale)

Natasha: That's better! If they find a breach, judges may award some compensation and can tell Parliament that the law is breaching human rights so that the law can be changed. But what rights are protected?

Essentially it's the rights in the Human Rights Convention. These include the right to life, the right to liberty, freedom of speech and many others. This applies to anyone in the UK and sometimes people outside of the UK in an area which the UK controls. People use the Human Rights Act every day in ways you might not expect. The Human Rights Act helped the families of the 96 people who died in the Hillsborough disaster to get a full investigation. It helps to make sure that soldiers get safe equipment and adequate training from the Ministry of Defense. Because of the Human Rights Act, people using the NHS have to be treated with dignity. The Human Rights Act came into force in 2000. I just realised that's almost 20 years ago, we're so old! Before then people had to go all the way to the Human Rights Court in Strasburg if the state had breached their rights. That took a lot of time and a lot of money, but now thousands of cases can be decided here in the UK.

(Sound of applause as silhouettes of audience members appear at the bottom of the screen)

Natasha: Okay, Jack, I think we get it.

(Applause stops and silhouettes disappear)

Natasha: So what should you do if you think a public authority is breaching your rights? Firstly, get expert advice and get it fast. You usually only have one year to take the case to court. A good place to start is a Citizen's Advice Bureau or a solicitor. They can advise you on the best course of action. Since it was introduced The Human Rights Act has helped thousands of people to get justice and with our rights facing increasing threats, it's never been more important.

So now you know what it's all about. Celebrate it. Protect it. Live the Human Rights Act! Was that too much? No?

What is the Human Rights Act?

Published on 29 Nov 2019

By now we’ve all probably heard of the Human Rights Act, but what does it actually do for us?

Thankfully, Natasha’s got our back and she’s here to give us an idea of what the Human Rights Act means for us. From articles that protect us all to legal obligations that uphold our rights, it’s vital for a civilised society, so it’s best to learn a thing or two about it!

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