Houses of Parliament portcullis
House of Lords
House of Commons
Session 2003-04
House of Lords Publications on the internet
House of Commons Publications on the internet
Joint Committee On Human Rights Publications

Joint Committee On Human Rights - Seventh Report

Here you can browse the report together with the Proceedings of the Committee. The published report was ordered by the House of Lords and the House of Commons to be printed 23 February 2004.


Terms of Reference



Bringing rights home

Two types of public authority

The problem


1 The developing law


Public authorities and international human rights obligations

Public authorities under the Human Rights Act: the parliamentary debates

Public authorities under the Human Rights Act: interpretation in the Courts

"Pure" public authorities

"Functional" public authorities

Summary of the current state of the law

A gap in human rights protection?

2 Why does the meaning of "public authority" matter?

Uncertain rights and responsibilities

The role of the "private" sector in delivering public services

Concerns of service providers

Independence from government

Public sector borrowing and the private sector

Consequences for individuals: the impact on vulnerable people


3 Is the category of "functional public authority" necessary?


Accountability of the delegating public authority?

Horizontal application: the protection of rights in the private sphere?

4 Potential Solutions: a summary

Amending the Act



Interpretation by the courts

5 Potential solutions: legislation

Redefining public functions

Scheduling "public authorities"

Designating "public authorities"

Designating "public functions"

6 Potential solutions: contract

Using contracts to secure protection of Convention rights

Contracts between a public body and a private organisation

Contracts between the service provider and the service user


7 Potential solutions: guidance

Standard contractual terms

Guidance from the Government on the meaning of "public authority"

8 A solution: principles of interpretation

Functional and institutional tests

Public functions and government programmes

Public functions and statute

Public functions and public institutions

Public functions and public power

9 Conclusion

Conclusions and recommendations

Annex: Section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998

Formal Minutes

List of Written Evidence


Written Evidence

Reports from the Joint Committee on Human Rights since 2001

previous page contents next page

House of Lords home page Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2004
Prepared 3 March 2004