Part One Introduction, 2 The impact of the Human Rights Act 1998
Andrew Burrows QC FBA
This chapter considers the two main respects in which the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA 1998) is relevant to civil wrongs. First, as the definition of a public authority in HRA 1998, s 6(3) includes a court, the HRA 1998 can have some ‘horizontal’ effect (that is, in actions between ‘private parties’). While the HRA 1998 does not require the courts to develop new civil wrongs, it has led to the courts modifying existing common law or equitable wrongs to take account of Convention rights. Secondly, HRA 1998, s 6(1) has ‘vertical effect’ by creating a new statutory cause of action constituted by a public authority’s infringement of a person’s Convention rights.