Human rights


In the EU, human rights legislation has massively changed the human rights law in many European countries, and England is no exception.

The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) was properly incorporated into English law with the passing of the Human Rights Act 1998, allowing national courts to enforce Convention rights.

If you’re involved in a human rights dispute, it is imperative to hire an expert lawyer in this field.

What are human rights?

EU human rights law confers rights on individuals within a jurisdiction. This does not necessarily mean that the individuals have to be nationals of the relevant member state. This is particularly important when it comes to the rights of asylum seekers, who are not normally protected by EU law.

The rights and freedoms contained in the ECHR include:  

  • The right to life
  • Freedom from torture and degrading treatment
  • Freedom from slavery
  • The right to liberty and security
  • The right to a fair trial
  • The right not to be punished retrospectively
  • The right to privacy and respect for your family life
  • Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
  • Freedom of expression
  • Freedom of association
  • The right to marry
  • The right not to be discriminated against
  • The right to peaceful enjoyment of your property
  • The right to an education
  • The right to participate in free and fair elections
  • The right not to be subjected to the death penalty

EU human rights law includes absolute rights, and limited rights. For example, the Convention states that the right to life and the right to freedom from torture are absolute rights and there is no situation where these rights will not be upheld.

However, most rights are subject to limitations and qualifications. For example, Article 8 of the ECHR states that a person has the right to both family and private life. This could mean that a person who comes to the UK illegally and creates a family could never be removed.  However, the Human Rights Act allows for this right to be derogated in certain circumstances, one of which is to control immigration.

Bringing a human rights case

In circumstances where English legislation is incompatible with the Convention there may be an opportunity for an individual to bring a case at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Any person attempting to do this will need the assistance of a specialist human rights solicitor.

As a result of the Human Rights Act, you can bring a claim in any UK court if you feel your rights have been breached. After exhausting all domestic avenues, if you still feel your case has not been fairly heard, you can lodge an appeal directly to the European Court. Human rights law is complex, and so it is always advised to seek legal advice from an experienced solicitor prior to making any claim under the Act.

Need more information? See our guidance page on the European Court of Human Rights.

Do you have a claim for human rights that you need assistance with? Are you in dispute over an immigration matter involving an aspect of human rights law? Contact Law works with a number of lawyers specialising in human rights law who can represent you if necessary. Please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above and we will call you back.

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