Craig shared this story at the Lived Experience Roundtable that BIHR and Liberty held with the Independent Human Rights Act Review Panel. You can read more about this here.

About Craig:

Craig is the father of Cameron Mathieson, a child with severe disabilities. Cameron’s family were denied a disability benefit after Cameron had been in hospital for 84 days. Used the right to be free from discrimination (Article 14) of the Human Rights Act ECHR to successfully challenge this withdrawal of benefits in the Supreme Court. You can read the full court case here

How Craig used the Human Rights Act:

  • Craig and his family did not claim the benefits they were entitled to until both parents had to give up work to care for their children, had sold all their assets and spent all their savings.
  • The Supreme Court ultimately unanimously ruled that the Secretary of State had breached Cameron’s right to be free from discrimination (Article 14), read with the right to peaceful enjoyment (Article 1 of Protocol 1) and the right to private and family life (Article 8).
  • The 84-day rule was repealed 11 months later for everybody under the age of 18.
  • Cameron’s legal aid was stopped while the case was ongoing. Craig believes that the lack of properly available legal aid makes use of the HRA through the courts often only accessible in theory.

In Craig’s own words:

 “What I would ask you to recommend from the bottom of my heart is that the Human Rights Act and access to justice for all should be strengthened, not hollowed out even further. Because in a free and democratic society, what possible reason could those elected to serve us have to fear having to be fair and honest in their dealings with us?”