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Public Law Directions

Public Law Directions (2nd edn)

Anne Dennett
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date: 24 February 2024

p. 40917. The Human Rights Act 1998locked

p. 40917. The Human Rights Act 1998locked

  • Anne DennettAnne DennettSenior Lecturer, University of Lincoln


This chapter addresses the Human Rights Act 1998. The Human Rights Act provides two ways for the courts to ensure compliance with Convention rights: where legislation is not human rights-compliant; and where a public authority has acted incompatibly with an individual’s rights. By providing a new benchmark for measuring UK legislation for compatibility with Convention rights, the Act gives judges a powerful interpreting role which effectively allows them to review Acts of Parliament. At the same time, the Act was carefully drafted to respect and preserve parliamentary sovereignty and does not give the UK courts power to invalidate, overrule, or strike down an Act of Parliament that is incompatible with a Convention right; and while the Human Rights Act has special status as a constitutional statute, it is not entrenched and cannot override other statutes.

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