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Your Rights Under the Human Rights Act 1998

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 12 Oct 2020 | comments*Discuss
 
Human Rights Act Exercising Human Rights

The Human Rights Act 1998 exists not simply to protect you in the more serious situations that involve matters such as torture and persecution. This Act incorporates your rights as an ordinary citizen going about your day to day business. This includes your freedom of speech, your religious beliefs and practising them, your rights to a fair trial should court action be taken against you, and other similar basic rights that you have in everyday life.

They are not absolute, however, and the government does have the necessary power to restrict and control certain elements contained within the Act where it is necessary to do so. This might include cases where, for example, in the interests of national security your freedom of speech might be limited, or your limits on privacy might be removed in situations where you might have your phone tapped if the government or the police felt you posed a threat to national security, or that you were using a phone as a means of communication for the purpose of committing a crime.

In addition to protecting your own human rights, the Human Rights Act 1998 also makes it mandatory for you to respect the rights of other people and to exercise your rights in a manner in which you would not be preventing others from exercising theirs.

Some of your basic human rights, as covered by the Act include:

  • The right to life and liberty
  • The right to a fair trial
  • The right to respect for family life and your own private life
  • The right to access education
  • The right to take part in free elections
  • Freedom of thought, expression, assembly and association
  • Freedom to practice legitimate religious beliefs

Exercising Your Human Rights

If you feel that you are being prevented from exercising any of these basic human rights or the others contained within the Act, you have the right to a solution by law, even if you feel your rights have been violated by a person or organisation in authority, such as the police. However, in the vast majority of cases, any fundamental disagreement you might have with regards to your ability to exercise your human rights can often be resolved quite amicably between the parties concerned or with the Help Of Mediation Services.

Nevertheless, in cases where no agreement or resolution can be reached, you are entitled to take your case further. This may be either to a court or to some kind of appropriate tribunal, whichever is the most appropriate. Before taking your case further and issuing any court proceedings, however, it is recommended that you seek legal advice. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau or Community Legal Advice centre can advise you on these matters and, in accordance with the Act, advice needs to be provided to citizens of the UK in their native language if they do not have a sufficient command of English.

It is important to remember, however, that in certain circumstances, there may be very legitimate reasons for denying some of the elements contained within the Act and to be sure of the legal implications in terms of how you have interpreted the law by Consulting With A Legal Expert first.

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Hi my mum and dad have lived at there house for 40 years in the 1980s my dad said to next door do you want to go half's on some conifers anyway they did but it came onto my mum and dad's border.. Fast forward to 40 years later the house in question is now rented to a man who isn't very nice but everyone thinks the sun shines out of his bottom... He has now put a 7ft fence right on my mums border which has also made my mums shed tilt forwardits very upsetting for my mum as my mum is nursing my dad who is dying... We questioned it with the rental place they said they had contacted the neighbour but he has cameras said he hasn't done it I asked to see the video but they said no.. Is there anything I can do
Carebear3 - 12-Oct-20 @ 5:59 PM
Our neighbours are the king and queen of extensions and home improvements.They’ve closed off their garden access to convert to a laundry room and told us that they were going to create access through their garage.They changed their mind and have put a gate close to our border and a raised patio and can see right into our kitchen and beyond into the garden. Not that washing up was my favourite chore but I now feel uncomfortable at my sink, drinking coffee at my breakfast bar or eating dinner at my dining table.Also if we’re working in the garage they can look straight at us. We tried to talk to them but they constantly interrupted us and then Made it personal.Their answer basically is it’s their home and land and they can do what they want and they don’t need our permission and just so you know we’re going to paint the red brick wall white so when the sun shines it will glare in your window.Also the gate now means we have lost the ability to sneak an extra car at the end of our drive which didn’t block any accesses although we’ve been doing this for 17 years.
Nikki - 18-Jul-20 @ 5:17 PM
Our neighbours are the king and queen of extensions and home improvements.They’ve closed off their garden access to convert to a laundry room and told us that they were going to create access through their garage.They changed their mind and have put a gate close to our border and a raised patio and can see right into our kitchen and beyond into the garden. Not that washing up was my favourite chore but I now feel uncomfortable at my sink, drinking coffee at my breakfast bar or eating dinner at my dining table.Also if we’re working in the garage they can look straight at us. We tried to talk to them but they constantly interrupted us and then Made it personal.Their answer basically is it’s their home and land and they can do what they want and they don’t need our permission and just so you know we’re going to paint the red brick wall white so when the sun shines it will glare in your window.Also the gate now means we have lost the ability to sneak an extra car at the end of our drive which didn’t block any accesses although we’ve been doing this for 17 years.
Nikki - 18-Jul-20 @ 5:16 PM
Our neighbours are the king and queen of extensions and home improvements.They’ve closed off their garden access to convert to a laundry room and told us that they were going to create access through their garage.They changed their mind and have put a gate close to our border and a raised patio and can see right into our kitchen and beyond into the garden. Not that washing up was my favourite chore but I now feel uncomfortable at my sink, drinking coffee at my breakfast bar or eating dinner at my dining table.Also if we’re working in the garage they can look straight at us. We tried to talk to them but they constantly interrupted us and then Made it personal.Their answer basically is it’s their home and land and they can do what they want and they don’t need our permission and just so you know we’re going to paint the red brick wall white so when the sun shines it will glare in your window.Also the gate now means we have lost the ability to sneak an extra car at the end of our drive which didn’t block any accesses although we’ve been doing this for 17 years.
Nikki - 18-Jul-20 @ 4:01 PM
Hi, I have a neighbour that has one of the biggest trampolines in her garden. Daily they use there trampoline which overlooks my garden. Everyday the adults use the trampoline aswell as there children. We are so overlooked when they are jumping is there anything I can do about this?
K - 7-Jul-20 @ 7:43 PM
I live in a terraced house and flats built at the bk of my garden , the upstairs flat has a window tht opens and looks into my garden and house . I feel my privacy us invaded and now rarely use my garden as a result as the person living in the flat continually has his window open hearing all conversation and any normal noise he hangs out if it and shouts at me
Jayne - 28-Jun-20 @ 5:23 PM
Hi my neighbour at back of myhousehas a camera pointing at my house is this allowed please
Lou - 25-Jun-20 @ 9:37 AM
I would like some advise regarding the below: I am renting a studio flat on the 1st floor of the block of flat and my flat is in front next to the porch and the entrance door. Our mailboxes our outside the block of flat and few of the mailboxes have been vandalised so The estate agent has just installed a camera on the porch ( which I do not dispute) butthe camera is pointed directly into my flat and if I open my blind they can infringe my private life. I have send the estate agent few emails to make them understand that the camera is place in the wrong side of the porch but they do not want to know what should I do?
ice - 22-Jun-20 @ 8:24 PM
My neighbours put a security light in our shared ally which is just mine and his house and my motorbike is down there and it shine directly onto it and and now worried that it will attract people more as it will light up and show the bike making it more prone to it being stolen is their anything I can do about this
Jammy - 14-Jun-20 @ 10:25 PM
Theres knowing your rights and your rights not being noticed because you are disabled. I have been living with bullies next door, since they moved in about eight years ago, the police know what they have done to me, yet they are untouchable it seems. They shine lazers in my eyes to damage the cctv on my property and now I suffer with migraines, they slander my good name , they humiliate me, they damage my property, they show hate to wards me by throwing there hands about taking the p out of me being disabled and now they are painting my shed without my say so, this is over my wall and a different colour to my shed I guess thats making me look a disabled fool knowing I am disabled and no one is going to stop them. This used to be a nice place to live now I feel no ones cares, knowing what neighbours are doing to me its killing me slowly.
rolling man - 12-Apr-20 @ 6:57 PM
My neighbour & I share our front doors' access area. We are both tenants of social housing properties. They have installed an i-Ring doorbell situated in middle of our doors. It can record; has motion detection plus alert; also infrared capable video & scrutiny. I am very distubed by this idea regards my privacy.I will be unable to be outside my home or have visitors without neighbour knowing everything. What can I do? How do I protect my privacy???
passiflora - 12-Oct-19 @ 9:33 PM
Our new neighbours (they're renting) have erected an enormous trampoline which takes up practically a third of their garden. It was initially put right up our fence and the children made a point of telling us they could see into our garden. We asked for the trampoline to be moved further down the garden, which to be fair they did, but it's still in a position where the children can still see into our garden, but its better than it was. It's also an eye sore in our opinion.Are there no regulations on erecting large trampolines or such, and the invasion of our privacy, let alone the noise they also make...Thanks in advance
Rutter - 8-Jul-19 @ 10:09 AM
i am in gay relationship, we just come back from holiday abroad to our home being surrounded by cctv. they have placed a camera in our garden apparently looking at her shed which is under her stairs on our back door wall. the camera looks like it is pointing down at our back door.she has also put one above her front door looking down at our front door as she is above us. then she put one at the front of the block looking over the green pointing towards her car.the only one legit is the one looking up her garden.the Wolverhampton police have done nothing except close the file.she is clearly breaching our privacy, they have been verbally abusing us as well. wait and see what the police say about that on Saturday but thats taken 8 days considering i 999 it when i reported. she clearly is breach human rights and cctv code of practice. and surveillance camera commissioner what can i do i feel im not getting the support from my police or council ?
loopylee - 6-Jul-18 @ 8:05 PM
My neighbour has a flock of pigeons which he keeps in a coop. He lets them out for exercise twice a day every day 0900 to 1100 and again 1500 to 1700. The pigeons are not racing pigeons and not tagged ( I know this because one died when it flew into my window) The problem is they crap over my garden, house, conservatory and cars. We dare not sit in the garden while they are out. What can I do
Jaja - 19-Jun-18 @ 5:02 PM
Nipper - Your Question:
Age concern centre is our estate I have found our recently one of there camera arePointed at my small front garden where my grand children play It's quite a distance from the centre and we are very concerned There is no signage around the estate about this Any advice on this please we have live here for 50 years

Our Response:
Talk to the Age Concern organisation first of all. Ask them who can view the footage and whyCCTV is there etc. If you're worried about privacy talk to yourlocal community policing team.
ProblemNeighbours - 18-May-18 @ 3:28 PM
Age concern centre is our estate I have found our recently one of there camera are Pointed at my small front gardenwhere my grand children play It's quite a distance from the centre and we are very concerned There is no signage around the estate about this Any advice on this please we have live here for 50 years
Nipper - 18-May-18 @ 6:57 AM
Can and age concern centre have there CCTV pointed at the front of my home and my small Front garden where my grandchildren play The centre is on the same estate wher we have lived for 50 years there's no signage around The estate
Nipper - 18-May-18 @ 6:49 AM
Sir/Madam, May I know where I should complaint about members of the managing committee of my society as they have installed cctv exactly face to our residencial door.Is it permissible to installed cctv inside the society?is it permissible for society to install cctv camera face to residential door.
Yashwant T Gawade - 3-Apr-18 @ 8:29 AM
I have been trying to sell my house this year for a realistic amount.However although potential buyers love my house and garden they will not put an offer in with my neighbours scrap car in the garden which my upstairs window overlooks.I managed to get one of these potential buyers to put that in writing.The neighbour with the scrap car refuses to move it or cover it up and it is an eyesore.Any advice would be appreciated. I have a six foot fence but that doesn't hide it and if I try to grow anything tall to hide it he just sprays it to kill it.
JaniceJoplin - 16-Jul-17 @ 9:27 AM
Danniloo21 - Your Question:
My neighbour is a hoarder & we recently had a fire due to all his crap (for want of a better word!) Thankfully we were very lucky that me,partner & 3 young children got out. I've not even had an apology from him! Since then have tried everything to get him to remove & tidy up the property & things aren't on the beat of terms as he has been handed a 21 day order to tidy the property. Last night he installed two cctv cameras one pointing directly into my child's bedroom & our main access door! Where do I stand on basic human rights act i.e. Family life & privacy? What's the best solution here? Many thanks

Our Response:
If your neighbour installs CCTV, camersa must be located in such a way that they are not positioned facing anyone's property buty his own. You can ask the local police to come rounds and take a look at the cameras...they canask him to re-position them if they think your privcay is being infringed.
ProblemNeighbours - 15-Jun-17 @ 2:17 PM
My neighbour is a hoarder & we recently had a fire due to all his crap (for want of a better word!) Thankfully we were very lucky that me,partner & 3 young children got out. I've not even had an apology from him! Since then have tried everything to get him to remove & tidy up the property & things aren't on the beat of terms as he has been handed a 21 day order to tidy the property. Last night he installed two cctv cameras one pointing directly into my child's bedroom & our main access door! Where do I stand on basic human rights act i.e. Family life & privacy? What's the best solution here? Many thanks
Danniloo21 - 13-Jun-17 @ 8:02 AM
Chilly - Your Question:
I currently work in a cctv control room in a high profile tourist attraction in London. My manager has installed a cctv camera in the control room to observe the operator and systems at work. He has informed us that this is to conform with British standards and has this camera fed back to his mobile phone. What are your views and is this OK.

Our Response:
We're not sure on this one. It's probably easier for you to contact the Information Commissioner's Office directly.
ProblemNeighbours - 26-Apr-17 @ 2:09 PM
I currently work in a cctv control room in a high profile tourist attraction in London. My manager has installed a cctv camera in the control room to observe the operator and systems at work. He has informed us that this is to conform with British standards and has this camera fed back to his mobile phone. What are your views and is this OK.
Chilly - 25-Apr-17 @ 2:19 PM
Ti - Your Question:
I live in a housing association block of four flats. CCTV/sound monitoring was installed in 2015, on the landing at the top of the communal hall; between the two top flats. The CCTV sound monitoring equipment is located in a cupboard right next to my front door. The CCTV was installed to prevent crime & antisocial behaviour. However, on requesting subject access data from my housing in September 2016, I learnt Housing have been using the CCTV to collect data on my wife when she leaves & returns home. She suffers from PTSD & anxiety. Does not leave home very often & never alone. I was really angry when I read this in the SAR info. Housing have failed/declined to answer why this information was collected.This is against why the CCTV was put into the communal hall. It should not be used to spy on a individual person this way!Please could you give me some advice what I should do. Many thanks.

Our Response:
The Information Commissioner's Office has a template letter that you can use to raise your concerns with the landlord. You can also complain directly to the ICO if you believe your landlord to be in breach of the data protection regulations; again, their website gives you a guide on how to do this.
ProblemNeighbours - 19-Apr-17 @ 10:56 AM
I live in a housing association block of four flats. CCTV/sound monitoring was installed in 2015, on the landing at the top of the communal hall; between the two top flats. The CCTV sound monitoring equipment is located in a cupboard right next to my front door. The CCTV was installed to prevent crime & antisocial behaviour. However, on requesting subject access data from my housing in September 2016, I learnt Housing have been using the CCTV to collect data on my wife when she leaves & returns home. She suffers from PTSD & anxiety. Does not leave home very often & never alone. I was really angry when I read this in the SAR info. Housing have failed/declined to answer why this information was collected. This is against why the CCTV was put into the communal hall. It should not be used to spy on a individual person this way! Please could you give me some advice what i should do. Many thanks.
Ti - 16-Apr-17 @ 2:33 PM
In the know -You are right in that The Human Rights Act 1998 governs public authorities. However, the European Convention on Human Rights governs and protects others from infringing your rights. There are also all types of human rights and a few of these are directly aimed at the government but to state that only a public authority can breach your rights is false
Reece - 2-Feb-17 @ 12:09 AM
You write "the Human Rights Act 1998 also makes it mandatory for you to respect the rights of other people and to exercise your rights in a manner in which you would not be preventing others from exercising theirs." However that's not true. As a private individual you have no obligations under the human rights act - because it only applies to: "all public authorities, and all other bodies, whether public or private, performing public functions" Therefore it's not relevant to link this to infringing privacy with domestic cctv systems. Only the council or another public body could breach your human rights in this way
In the know - 29-Jan-17 @ 12:31 AM
My landlord has recently fitted CCTV to the six tennant house I live in. Whilst this is good for prevention and piece of mind, I am concerned that a particular tennant is reporting personal goings on to my landlord about my private life. For example, when I bring visitors back to stay over. It was clearly stated that we can have visitors so this should not be a problem.Where do I stand, knowing that this tennant checks the CCTV regularly just to see what myself and other tennants are doing and reports back to the landlord?This is making myself and others feel very uncomfortable.
MollyMoo - 4-Dec-16 @ 7:59 PM
We have a neighbour who lives directly opposite us who has just had a 360 ball camera installed at the top of his property. This looks straight into my bedroom window, over looks my front door, my front living room window, my car, my garden. I have 2 young children and I'm very concerned! What can be done? My privacy is being invaded. I have spoken to the local police and they have confirmed there has been no criminal activity in our street, therefore I'm questioning why he has installed this!
A - 25-Aug-16 @ 1:02 AM
SJA - Your Question:
We live in a new build property, with a small garden. My neighbour has put up a huge climbing frame over 2.5meters high. The council planning department assessed it and advised it is not subject to planning permission as it is a climbing frame. I'm not against climbing frames but it is huge the children can not only stand there and look in my garden they can watch me in my kitchen and dining room. There is no escape. Aren't you entitled to privacy in your own home and garden.

Our Response:
You can erect your own fence of up to 2.2 metres and of course there's nothing really to prevent you from growing trees or bushes to help create more privacy.
ProblemNeighbours - 13-Jun-16 @ 1:53 PM
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