The European Convention on Human Rights

The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) has effect in UK law under the terms of the Human Rights Act 1998. That Act requires UK courts to, among other things, “take into account” the case law of the European Court of Human Rights when deciding whether a public authority’s actions have violated the rights of an individual. That case law, in turn, has various levels of complexity in terms of the “public interest”, as it recognises not only that there is a “public interest” in protecting individual rights but also that there may be legitimate reasons of “public interest” for placing limitations upon rights. Much of the case law under the ECHR – and under the Human Rights Act 1998 – is therefore about striking a balance between individual rights and the interest of the wider public/community.

The above points can be developed further under three interlinked headings: (1) the place of the “public interest” in the ECHR; (2) when limitations on rights for reasons of the “public interest” are lawful; and (3) who decides how to balance individual interests with the “public interest”.

glqxz9283 sfy39587stf01 mnesdcuix7