Twenty years of the Human Rights Act: Extracts from the evidence Contents

1ECtHR Judgments against the UK: the effects of the HRA

Box 1: Lord Irvine of Lairg, House of Lords Second Reading Debate, 3 Nov 1997

“Our legal system has been unable to protect people in the 50 cases in which the European Court has found a violation of the convention by the United Kingdom. That is more than any other country except Italy. The trend has been upwards. Over half the violations have been found since 1990.”1

Source: HL Deb, 3 Nov 1997, col 1228

Box 2: Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law

[…] In 2017 only 0.2%, 2 out of all 1,068 judgments given by the Strasbourg Court found a violation by the UK, and in 2016 this figure was 0.7%, 7 out of all 993 judgments. Again, this represents a decrease since the coming into force of the HRA. For example, in 1999 6.8% of all judgments given by the Court found at least one violation by the UK, and in 2000 this figure was 2.3%. The figure was 2.1% in 2001; 3.6% in 2002; 2.8% in 2003; and 2.6% in 2004.1

Source: HRA0026

Box 3: Dr Alice Donald

One means of assessing whether the HRA has succeeded in its aspiration to ‘bring rights home’ is to determine whether it has led to a reduction in the number of judgments at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) finding a violation by the UK of one or more rights contained in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Allowing for a lag of several years from the enactment of the HRA, as public authorities adjusted their policies and practices and older cases worked through the domestic and Strasbourg systems, a decline in adverse judgments would be expected as a result of the fact that UK courts and other public authorities now consider human rights more explicitly and intensively than before—and that the Strasbourg Court is, in turn, more likely to endorse their reasoning and conclusions.

Source: HRA0021

Table 1. Judgments finding a violation against the UK 2001–2017

Source: Statistics from ECHR website

1 Note that because of the time taken for cases to reach Strasbourg most of these cases will have originated before the Human Rights Act came into force.

Published: 9 November 2018