17 years ago today, the Human Rights Act became law in the UK and we think that's worth celebrating!

To mark the occasion, over the next 17 days we will be 'unwrapping' the Human Rights Act - with information & stories, we'll be sharing how the Act works and how it makes a difference.

If the Human Rights Act is the most important law protecting our human rights here at home, then what does it protect and how does it work?

What does the Human Rights Act protect?

Our Human Rights Act protects sixteen fundamental human rights, and makes them part of UK law:

How it works

The Human Rights Act works in three main ways: 

1. All UK laws should be compatible with the human rights in the Human Rights Act

Whether a law is old or new – it must be compatible with the rights in the Human Rights Act. 

2. Public authorities must respect our human rights in all they do

Public authorities can include the police, schools, local councils, hospitals, care homes and prisons.

Put simply, this means that those with duties must respect, protect and fulfil people’s human rights in their day-to-day work. 

3. Any person can ask UK courts and tribunals to look at their situation

This means you can go to your local court here in the UK and ask them to look at whether your human rights are at risk or have been violated by the actions or failure to act of a
public authority. 

This doesn’t mean your application will automatically become a case. The courts will first decide it is admissible,
including whether human rights really are an issue that needs to be looked at or not.

Ultimately, our Human Rights Act means that those with public power have legal duties to respect, protect and fulfil everyone's human rights. 

For more information

You can:

Don't forget to check for our Human Rights Act stories and join us in celebrating the Human Rights Act on social media, using the hashtag #HRAat17.