The Convention Rights
(Article 1 is introductory and is not incorporated into the Human Rights Act.)
Article 2: Right to life
A person has the right to have their life protected by law. There are only certain very limited circumstances where it is acceptable for the state to take away someone’s life, e.g. if a police officer acts justifiably in self-defence.
Article 3: Prohibition of torture
A person has the absolute right not to be tortured or subjected to treatment or punishment which is inhuman or degrading.
Article 4: Prohibition of slavery and forced labour
A person has the absolute right not to be treated as a slave or to be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.
Article 5: Right to liberty and security
A person has the right not to be deprived of their liberty – ‘arrested or detained’ – except in limited cases specified in the article (e.g. where they are suspected or convicted of committing a crime) and provided there is a proper legal basis in UK law.
Article 6: Right to a fair trial
A person has the right to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable period of time. This applies both to criminal charges against them and to cases concerning their civil rights and obligations. Hearings must be carried out by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law. It is possible to exclude the public from the hearing (though not from the judgment) if it is necessary to protect things like national security or public order. If it is a criminal charge, the person is presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law and has certain guaranteed rights to defend themselves.
Article 7: No punishment without law
A person normally has the right not to be found guilty of an offence arising out of actions which at the time they committed them were not criminal. They are also protected against later increases in the maximum possible sentence for an offence. Apart from the right to hold particular beliefs, the rights in Articles 8 to 11 may be limited where that is necessary to achieve an important objective. The precise objectives for which limitations are permitted are set out in each article, but they include things like protecting public health or safety, preventing crime and protecting the rights of others.
Article 8: Right to respect for private and family life
A person has the right to respect for their private and family life, their home and their correspondence. This right can be restricted only in specified circumstances.
Article 9: Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
A person is free to hold a broad range of views, beliefs and thoughts, and to follow a religious faith. The right to manifest those beliefs may be limited only in specified circumstances.
Article 10: Freedom of expression
A person has the right to hold opinions and express their views on their own or in a group. This applies even if those views are unpopular or disturbing. This right can be restricted only in specified circumstances.
Article 11: Freedom of assembly and association
A person has the right to assemble with other people in a peaceful way. They also have the right to associate with other people, which includes the right to form a trade union. These rights may be restricted only in specified circumstances.
Article 12: Right to marry
Men and women have the right to marry and start a family. National law will still govern how and at what age this can take place.
(Article 13 is not included in the Human Rights Act.)
Article 14: Prohibition of discrimination
In the application of the Convention rights, a person has the right not to be treated differently because of their race, religion, sex, political views or any other personal status, unless this can be justified objectively. Everyone must have equal access to Convention rights, whatever their status.
Article 1 of Protocol 1: Protection of property
(A ‘protocol’ is a later addition to the Convention.)
A person has the right to the peaceful enjoyment of their possessions. Public authorities cannot usually interfere with things people own or the way they use them, except in specified limited circumstances.
Article 2 of Protocol 1: Right to education
A person has the right not to be denied access to the educational system.
Article 3 of Protocol 1: Right to free elections
Elections for members of the legislative body (e.g. Parliament) must be free and fair and take place by secret ballot. Some qualifications may be imposed on who is eligible to vote (e.g. a minimum age).
Article 1 of Protocol 13: Abolition of the death penalty
These provisions abolish the death penalty.