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Your Rights Under the Human Rights Act 1998

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 2 Feb 2017 | 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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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
We are pensioners and have lived in our house for 30+ years, but over the last 15 or so the parking situation has become terrible, people think they can park blocking our drive and since ourhouse is set back the cars park facing the house.We have quite a big window and it is lower than street level but people will sit in their cars with the lights on full shining in our window if we say anything they mostly ignore us and do it all the more I don't see why I should have to close my blinds and curtains when it is still quite light.The worst culprit lives across the road they have a two car drive but three cars and the son does car repairs and has them on their drive.I don't know who can help.
Elsie - 1-Feb-17 @ 4:53 PM
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
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.
SJA - 10-Jun-16 @ 4:56 PM
21 - Your Question:
I live in a housing association block which is a Big brother' environment. CCTV cameras all over. We pay for certain facilities and maintenance on top of our rent but since the new caretaker has been here it is totally changes to the extent I had a letter stating to remove cardboard from the bin area or I would be charged. With the time and day recorded from the CCTV camera. Is this legal? As it didn't come from the housing office

Our Response:
Check out with your housing association, they should be able to let you see their CCTV policy, so you know who has access and what is being filmed etc.
ProblemNeighbours - 12-May-16 @ 9:43 AM
I live in a housing association block which is a Big brother' environment. CCTV cameras all over. We pay for certain facilities and maintenance on top of our rent but since the new caretaker has been here it is totally changes to the extent I had a letter stating to remove cardboard from the bin area or I would be charged. With the time and day recorded from the CCTV camera. Is this legal? As it didn't come from the housing office
21 - 10-May-16 @ 6:11 AM
My neighbour has a cctv camera on her property she live has 32 Barrett street smethwick she has look over property's and causing troubleand blame thing what they have not done this is a serious matter having a cctv camera look over you propert
Matharu - 12-Feb-16 @ 7:25 AM
We live on private property on the ground floor. My neighbour above is spying on my family inc. My 11 yr old son. All the other neighbours know she is a busy body who confronts the binmen, window cleaners etc. Now she has stooped to taking photographs of us and other people. She told community constable it was because we had a dog an our rules say no animals. We were minding the dog at the time. I am very unhappy about the spying and the pictures. What can I do?
jah - 19-Oct-15 @ 11:47 AM
@Maddi. There is more information on this in these two articles: Neighbour's CCTV cameras and CCTV, Privacy and the Law.
ProblemNeighbours - 16-Jul-15 @ 10:38 AM
My In-Laws are having a bad time with there neighbors. Currently the neighbors CCTV camera is pointing into there property and we have contacted the police about this. They have seen the camera and have agreed its invaliding there privacy. They have spoken to the neighbors regarding this to re position the camera but yet 6 weeks down the line the camera is still invading my in laws property. After numbers phones calls back to and forth to the police the camera is still there!!!!!!!!!!!. Oh the police say if they do not remove it we should go to the council???? If we thought this was a council matter go to the police first?? If this is not removed ASAP I am going higher and going to the press in regards to an old couple who has done nothing wrong!!!! This is a police matter!!!! Would you like to a camera watching you walking out of your back door??Please Help as this is upsetting an elderly couple.
Maddi - 12-Jul-15 @ 2:51 AM
Hi, iv bin living with mice in my council property for about the last 4 yrs or so now and every time I have managed to clear them up they come back. I have complained to my landlord 100's of times about the fact I was pregnant during this time and were about to bring 2new born babies into this environment and surely it is not clean. They leave wee and poo everywhere as they go and I hav to continuously to clean up after them. I also have a problem with poison being put down as they kept dropping down dead in the house and there were a lot of near misses where the twins had gone to pick them up. Iv explained this to the council and have repeatedly bin asking to move as this an ongoing problem In the street way before I even got there. So no amount of poison will fully clear this up. I live right by a river and am swarmed with rats at the back and so far have bin certain rats weren't in my house until one tonight one walked slowly from under my bed. I can't live like this but have no where else to go. Both the twins sleep in the room with me and We have found droppings in beds and cots. They go all over the work surfaces in the kitchen and my older son who is 13 is mentally scarred from them and still gets scared after all this time. They hide out in his room and he has many times refused to go to sleep in there. I'm completely stuck as the council do not wish to help and also just give me pest controls number. They won't be able to clear the problem unless my whole street decides to so in the mean time iv just gotta keep clearing them up. This is no way to live and I can't take any more of it. Is there anybody who can advise me better than the council as they make it so impossible you just give up and I can't live like this no more ( sorry for the lengthy msg but I'm stressssssed!!!) lol
Kiki - 10-Jul-15 @ 10:57 PM
We have a caravan on Sunny Vale caravan site Rhylrecently the new site manager has installed a caravan immediately behind our van making it very difficult for us to get our Car in and out of ourparking space at the side of our vanboth my husband and daughter have mobility issues and use mobility scooters so we need room to get these in and out of the carWhen I asked the site manager if he would move the vans as they were blocking us in and explained why, he said he could do as he wanted I asked why he had blocked us in by putting the caravans sideways behind us and not in the correct site position he said he had CCTV camera in itthis caravan is directly behind my daughters bedroom and has caused her to think he is watching herI asked if he would show me where the camera was but he said he would notmy daughter willnot open her curtains now as she thinks he can see her in bed.please advise me as to if he can or can not have cctv 10 foot from our bedroom window THANK YOU
Val needs HELP - 6-Jul-15 @ 12:48 PM
I live in a council house which was originally sheltered housing so is all on ground level. My bathroom window is in his garden which is bigger than mine. I am concerned about my privacy when he is in his garden as you can hear everything in the bathroom. Can I ask for the garden boundary to be moved to include window on my property?
Omo - 24-Jun-15 @ 1:53 PM
My bathroom window in my council house is in my neighbours garden. The property was originally sheltered housing so it is all on ground level. I am concerned for my privcy as he would hear meinth!e bathroom if he was outside. I am a female on my own. Should I be able to have bathroom window in my own garden.which would mean allocating part of his garden to me( mine is small compared to his)
Omo - 24-Jun-15 @ 1:48 PM
@kerryoo. You should talk with your council's planning department about this, there should have been some conditions in place when the change of use was granted.
ProblemNeighbours - 24-Apr-15 @ 12:20 PM
A year ago a beauty spa opened up in the business premise below me. My maisonette has just the kitchen downstairs and rest of property upstairs. Outside and to the right of my back door is my decking area and garden and to the left of my back door is the window into there 'treatment room' or 'massage room'. The two previous businesses that occupied that premise kept this window closed at all times and frosted up. The beauty spa just casual open it wide and have removed the frosting. My children aged 3 and 5 who play on the decking area and garden can see directly into the whole massage room. The people inside can also see them. This disturbs me as I have seen a man being massaged and a partial clothed woman undressing! Is this lawful.I feel like my children may be at some risk? Any help would be really appreciated.
kerry oo - 21-Apr-15 @ 8:56 PM
Hi my next door neighbores are muslim and they copmlain all the time to council about my dog and about when I got bbq my family ate pork and we use at home "pork" word thats ridiciules !!!!Always problems with them in my garden was my dog toy small plastic pig they ask council to remove that pig from my garden !!!
didi - 11-Sep-14 @ 7:33 AM
I am living in a house which is on my legal land for the last30years and all the land around my house is sold to someone .does that fellow has the right to stop giving me access to my land.please answer me i am very tensed.
Rahul - 18-Aug-14 @ 6:55 PM
I bought this house in 1998, I threw my exgf out a yr after that. my neighbors are harrassing me. i used to belong to the masonic lodge in my area. i left them. i met a girl. they say i was forcefull. well stalking her. no she knew i was sending her gifts. she knew too much of my personal life i wanted to know how she knew. well i found out. my family knew her boss. they were pumping her with info. well i have moved on. left my friends that i thought i had, my family is history. anyone who will do that to someone i prefer not to associate with. but i still feel there is a listening device in this house. ask me why i think this. well i talk to my self with unique information to see where it pops up. nobody would know. also they know the people at my bank. this is all illegal. you say its me. no its not. its them. at first i thought i was going nuts, paranoid, bipolar. ha there is nothing wrong with me they are nuts. i have proved it. i want the guilty party who is resposible for this action. well i have contacted everyone legal. nobody will help. apparently this lunetic is rich or powerful or both. keep the money leave me alone. your nuts. thank you. spread the word tell my neighbors they will . they have ruined my reputations so far. i can't even go to a bar in the city. i figured out they hang out in them.
doug - 13-Aug-14 @ 8:44 AM
hi i livve at alexander gardens sheltered accomadation 2yearsplussince about 18 montths on and of every few days my neighbour has tormented by banging on my bedroom wall regardless of the volume of mytv which i listen to very low normal like on number 7-11 or so i can hardly hear it properly myself salixs excuse is he is poorly and termanly ill funny thing is i am terminllyill myself but i feel because i dont go on and on aboutmy illness andsuffering saliix seems to exuse his behaviour i have about 5 times have had the ambulane out as i felt i was havinng a heart attack last time was sunday 8th of dec the parramedics where here about 45 mins at least it turned out to be a very bad anxieety attack they said i need a cpn whih for 10years i have tried for as i am bi polar on lithium thats just a bitof what contiuues to go on with me crazy yours sincerely mr louis g hyman
none - 9-Dec-13 @ 4:46 AM
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