Commission highlights benefits of 20 years of Human Rights Act in new briefing published today

In a new briefing published today, the Scottish Human Rights Commission has detailed the positive difference the Human Rights Act has made to the protection of people’s rights in Scotland since it came into force 20 years ago.

Citing examples such as legal representation in detention, fairness in the judicial system and the management of data, the Commission’s briefing will inform an inquiry into 20 years of the Human Rights Act being held by the UK Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights.

Commenting today, Judith Robertson, Chair of the Commission, said:

“The Human Rights Act has benefited people in many settings from health and social care services to police custody to the media and safeguards on personal data.

Its impact has been felt beyond the courtroom, with its provisions clearly helping to drive the continued development of a more proactive culture of protecting human rights across Scotland’s public sector.

Our evidence to this inquiry shows why the legal enforceability of rights is a crucial part of making them meaningful in practice.

The bedrock of protection for rights provided by the Human Rights Act should be both maintained and built on to incorporate other international human rights standards into Scots law, in particular economic, social and cultural rights.”

Read the Commission’s full written evidence.


Note to Editors

1. The Human Rights Act 1998 received Royal Assent on 9 November 1998 and came into force on 2 October 2000.

2. The protections of the Human Rights Act are embedded in the Scotland Act 1998.

3. The Joint Committee on Human Rights Inquiry is examining the Human Rights Act to find out whether the Human Rights Act has been effective in the 20 years since it became law. Read more information about the Inquiry.