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Legal help using the Human Rights Act against environmental injustices and human rights violations.

Protocol 1

Article 1, the Protection of Property
Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law.

The proceding provisions shall not, however, in any way impair the right of a State to enforce such laws as it deems necessary to control the use of property in accordance with the general interest or to secure the payment of taxes or other contributions or penalities.

Property has a very wide meaning. It can include shares, a pension, or contributory welfare benefits, or even the right to sue someone.

Article 1, Protocol 1 provides that neither the Government nor a public authority can deprive you of your property unless the law states that it can and it is in the public interest to do so. If you are deprived of property by the state or a public authority you should be able to claim compensation.

Article 1 also states that the Government or a public authority cannot interfere with your use of your property, unless there is a law that allows it to do this and there is a good reason for it. It does not, however, affect the right of the Government or a public authority to force you to pay taxes or fines.

Article 2: Right to education

No person shall be denied the right to education. In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.

This gives everyone the right to go to school and the right to apply to university or college - but it does not prevent schools and colleges choosing the people that they will accept. The article states that the Government should ensure that education is of a reasonable standard. This applies to private as well as state schools.

The Article provides that the Government and schools must respect the religious views and other serious beliefs of a child's parents, but it does not give the right to a particular type of education for their children.

Article 3: Right to free elections

The High Contracting Parties undertake to hold free elections at reasonable intervals by secret ballot, under conditions which will ensure the free expression of the opinion of the people in the choice of the legislature.

The Article provides that the Government must hold elections at reasonable intervals and that the elections must be by secret ballot. It gives people the right to vote or to stand in elections, although there are some restrictions on this right. It does not say what type of election the Government should use.

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Article 2: Right to life
1. Everyone's right to life shall be protected by law. No one shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a court following his conviction of a crime for which this penalty is provided by law.
2. Deprivation of life shall not be regarded as inflicted in contravention of this Article when it results from the use of force which is no more than absolutely necessary:
(a) in defence of any person from unlawful violence;
(b) in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of a person lawfully detained;
(c) in action lawfully taken for the purpose of quelling a riot or insurrection.

This provides that the Government and public authorities must protect the right to life. This may require, for example, that the police have to protect someone whose life is under immediate threat. It could be used to argue that a patient should be able to get treatment that would save their life.

In the situations listed in the second provision of the Article - if someone dies the Government or public authority (usually the police) will have to show that no more force was used than was absolutely necessary. If they cannot show that they used only as much force as was absolutely necessary, they will have broken Article 2.

The article provides that there should be a proper investigation when the police or army kill someone or when someone dies in custody.

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Article 3: Prohibition of torture
No one shall be subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment has to be very serious to be in breach of Article 3.

People have used this article to argue that someone should not be deported to a country where they are likely to be tortured. It could also be used to argue that someone should not be deported to a country where they are likely to be given an unfair prison sentence. Prisoners or people held in hospital might use it if they are treated badly or if the conditions in the prison or hospital are particularly bad.

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Article 4: Prohibition of slavery and forced labour
1. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude.
2. No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.
3. For the purpose of this Article the term 'forced or compulsory labour' shall not include:
(a) any work required to be done in the ordinary course of detention imposed according to the provisions of Article 5 of the Convention or during conditional release from such detention;
(b) any service of a military character or, in case of conscientious objectors in countries where they are recognised, service exacted instead of compulsory military service;
(c) any service exacted in case of an emergency or calamity threatening the life or well-being of the community;
(d) any work or service which forms part of normal civic obligations.

This Article may mean that the courts will be able to order someone to do community service only if they agree to it. It could also be argued that Article 4 would be broken if someone's benefit was taken away because he/she is refusing to take a job.

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Article 5: Right to liberty and security
1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be deprived of his liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law -
(a) the lawful detention of a person after conviction by a competent court;
(b) the lawful arrest or detention of a person for non-compliance with the lawful order of a court or in order to secure the fulfilment of any obligation prescribed by law;
(c) the lawful arrest or detention of a person effected for the purpose of bringing him before the competent legal authority on reasonable suspicion of having committed an offence or when it is reasonably considered necessary to prevent his committing an offence or fleeing after having done so;
(d) the detention of a minor by lawful order for the purpose of educational supervision or his lawful detention for the purpose of bringing him before the competent legal authority;
(e) the lawful detention of persons for the prevention of the spreading of infectious diseases, of persons of unsound mind, alcoholics and drug addicts or vagrants;
(f) the lawful arrest or detention of a person to prevent his effecting an unauthorised entry into the country or of a person against whom action is being taken with a view to deportation or extradition.
2. Everyone who is arrested shall be informed promptly, in a language which he understands, of the reason for his arrest and of any charge against him.
3. Everyone arrested or detained in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1(c) of this Article shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorised by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial. Release may be conditioned by guarantees to appear for trial.
4. Everyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings by which the lawfulness of his detention shall be decided speedily by a court and his release ordered if the detention is not lawful.
5. Everyone who has been the victim of arrest or detention in contravention of the provisions of this Article shall have an enforceable right to compensation.

This limits the circumstances in which someone can be detained and have their freedom taken away. This covers detention for both long periods (for example, if you are in prison or are forced to stay as a patient in a mental hospital) and short periods (for example, if you are arrested). It may even cover stop and search provisions.

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Article 6: Right to a fair trial
1. In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law. Judgment shall be pronounced publicly, but the press and public may be excluded from all or part of the trial in the interests of morals, public order or national security in a democratic society, where the interests of juveniles or the protection of the private life of the parties so require, or to the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in special circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice.
2. Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.
3. Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights -
(a) to be informed promptly, in a language which he or she understands and in detail, of the nature and cause of the accusation against him;
(b) to have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence;
(c) to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing or, if he has not sufficient means to pay for legal assistance, to be given it free when the interests of justice so require;
(d) to examine or have examined witnesses against him and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him;
(e) to have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the language used in court.'

Article 6 applies to both civil and criminal proceedings. It provides that everyone has the right to a fair trial and sets standards for the way that hearings should be conducted. You may believe that you have not had a fair trial if you lose your case, but Article 6 will only be broken if these standards have not been met.

Criminal proceedings result from the comission of an offence by an individual. Under Article 6, criminal proceedings have a wider meaning than they usually have in English law, for example, cases against people for contempt of court for non payment of Concil Tax.

Article 6 covers civil cases involving disputes between private parties or organisations. It may also cover disputes between a private person or organisation and the Government or a public authority.

Civil proceedings that are covered by Article 6 include disputes about who the children of separated parents should live with, and how much contact they should have. Other types of hearing, such as employment tribunals and social security tribunals may also be covered.

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Article 7: No punishment without law
1. No one shall be held guilty of any criminal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a criminal offence under national or international law at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the criminal offence was committed.
2. This Article shall not prejudice the trial and punishment of any person for any act or omission which, at the time it was committed, was criminal according to the general law recognised by civilised nations.

This article provides that noone can be tried and found guilty of a criminal offence if what they did was not a criminal offence when they did it. It also provides that you can't be punished in a way that was not the law when you comitted the offence. Parliament can't backdate a law that increases the length of time you could be sent to prison for, or introduce a new punishment for an offence.

It also requires that the law must be clear so that people know whether or not what they are doing is against the law.

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Article 8: Right to respect for private and family life
1. Everyone has the right to his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others
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People have successfully used the private life part of Article 8 to challenge the Government holding information about them - for example, someone who had been in care has used it to get information about his childhood.

'Family life' means your relationship with your close family. This includes a man and woman who aren't married but who live in a stable relationship. The Court in Strasbourg has not yet recognised asame-sex couple as a family, but it may be that the courts in this country will do so in the future.

People may use this part of Article 8 to argue that they should be given medical help to get pregnant.

'Your home' means where you currently live. The right to respect for your home does not mean that you have the right to be given a home if you do not have one, or to be given a better one than you already have.

'Your correspondence' means your phone calls and letters, as well as e-mails. People have successfully used Article 8 to challenge the police or secret services who have bugged their phones.

Article 8 is 'qualified right'. This means that it can be broken in certain circumstances, but the Government or public authority that has broken the right must show that they were justified in doing this.

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Article 9: Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
2. Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

This guarantees that you can think what you want and can hold any religious belief. You cannot be forced to follow a particular religion and cannot be stopped from changing your religion. This includes beliefs such as veganism and pacifism.

This right is a 'qualified right' and it can be broken in some circumstances. The Government or public authority who breaks the right must show that their actions were in pursuit of the four aims set out above, for example to protect the rights of others. They must also show that breaking the right was 'necessary and proportionate'.

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Article 10: Freedom of expression
1. Everyone has the right of freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.
2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

This guarantees the right to pass information to other people and to receive information that other people want to give to you. It also guarantees the right to hold and express opinions and ideas.

Journalists and publishers of newspapers or magazines can use Article 10 to argue there should be no restrictions on what they write about or publish. Artists and writers can use it to defend themselves against censorship. Article 10 may be used to argue for fewer restrictions on pornography.

This Article may also cover expressing yourself through the way you look - how you dress or have your hair cut, for example - though this may also be covered by Article 8.

Article 10 is a 'qualified right'.

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Article 11: Freedom of association and assembly
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
2. No restrictions shall be placed on the exercise of these rights other than such as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. This Article shall not prevent the imposition of lawful restrictions on the exercise of these rights by members of the armed forces, of the police or of the administration of the state.

This protects the right to protest peacefully by holding meetings and demonstrations. It also means that the police may have to act to protect people holding a meeting or demnostration from anyone trying to stop it.

Article 11 protects the right to form or join a political party or other group, and the right to belong to a trade union. But the right to join a trade union doesn't include police officers, soldiers and some other groups who work for the Government. Atticle 11 also guarantees the right not to have to join a union.

At the moment, English law allows the police to restrict demonstrations or to ban them. Article 11 may be used to challenge this.

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Article 12: Right to marry and found a family
Men and women of marriageable age shall have the right to marry and to found a family, according to national laws governing the exercise of this right.

At the moment this right does not include same-sex couples or transgender people.

The right to 'found a family' may apply only to people who are married. If it does, people who are not married will have to rely on the right to respect for family life under Article 8 to argue for their right to have children.

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Article 13: Right to effective remedy
The right to an effective national remedy
(NB this Article is NOT included in the Human Rights Act)
Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in this Convention are violated shall have an effective remedy before a national authority notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity.

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Article 14: Prohibition of discrimination
The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.

The European Court of Human Rights has accepted that the Article covers discrimination because someone is illegitimate, unmarried, a prisoner, or gay or lesbian. It's also likely that the courts will accept that this also covers discrimination against someone because they are disabled.

Article 14 does not give general rights against discrimination, but you can use it where another Article of the Convention is used. For example, men who have been widowed have used Article 14 - together with Protocol 1, Article 1 - to argue that benefits which were paid to women when their husbands died should also be paid to men when their wives have died.

Sometimes public authorities can justify discrimination if there is a good reason for treating certain people differently.

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Article 15: Reservations and Derogations

Derogations. 14. - (1) In this Act "designated derogation" means-

(a) the United Kingdom's derogation from Article 5(3) of the Convention; and
(b) any derogation by the United Kingdom from an Article of the Convention, or of any protocol to the Convention, which is designated for the purposes of this Act in an order made by the Secretary of State.
(2) The derogation referred to in subsection (1)(a) is set out in Part I of Schedule 3.

(3) If a designated derogation is amended or replaced it ceases to be a designated derogation.

(4) But subsection (3) does not prevent the Secretary of State from exercising his power under subsection (1)(b) to make a fresh designation order in respect of the Article concerned.

(5) The Secretary of State must by order make such amendments to Schedule 3 as he considers appropriate to reflect-

(a) any designation order; or
(b) the effect of subsection (3).
(6) A designation order may be made in anticipation of the making by the United Kingdom of a proposed derogation.

Reservations. 15. - (1) In this Act "designated reservation" means-

(a) the United Kingdom's reservation to Article 2 of the First Protocol to the Convention; and
(b) any other reservation by the United Kingdom to an Article of the Convention, or of any protocol to the Convention, which is designated for the purposes of this Act in an order made by the Secretary of State.
(2) The text of the reservation referred to in subsection (1)(a) is set out in Part II of Schedule 3.

(3) If a designated reservation is withdrawn wholly or in part it ceases to be a designated reservation.

(4) But subsection (3) does not prevent the Secretary of State from exercising his power under subsection (1)(b) to make a fresh designation order in respect of the Article concerned.

(5) The Secretary of State must by order make such amendments to this Act as he considers appropriate to reflect-

(a) any designation order; or
(b) the effect of subsection (3).

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Article 16: Restrictions on political activity of aliens
Nothing in Articles 10, 11 and 14 shall be regarded as preventing the High Contracting Parties from imposing restrictions on the political activity of aliens.

Article 17: Prohibition of abuse of rights
Nothing in this Convention may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein or at their limitation to a greater extent than is provided for in the Convention.

Article 18: Limitation on use of rights
The restrictions permitted under this Convention to the said rights and freedoms shall not be applied for any purpose other than those for which they have been prescribed.

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