What is the Human Rights Act?

The Human Rights Act is the law that protects everyone’s human rights in the UK.

The Human Rights Act protects you if you are anywhere in the UK. This includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

A law is a set of rules decided by the government which says what people can and can’t do. If you break the law, you could be punished.

Everyone has rights which are protected by the Human Rights Act, including:

  • People with disabilities
  • People who have committed crimes
  • People who are living in the UK but who were not born here
  • Children and young people

The Human Rights Act says that it is the law for staff working in public bodies to respect and protect your human rights.

Public bodies are organisations that serve the public. For example, NHS or councils. They are usually paid for by the government.

When you are thinking about where to live, you might talk about this with different staff who work in public bodies.

Staff who have to look after your human rights could include:

  • Staff who work for your local council, such as housing officers or social workers
  • Staff who work for a housing association. This is an organisation which looks after social housing.
  • Staff who work for the NHS, such as doctors, nurses, or commissioners.
  • Government bodies that find out what has happened when someone complains about an organisation. This is called an ombudsman.
  • The judge if you have to go to court.

There is an easy read guide to the Human Rights Act by The British Institute of Human Rights.