Human Rights (Jersey) Law 2000
The Human Rights Law
The purpose of the Law is to include certain rights and freedoms which are guaranteed under the European Convention on Human Rights (‘the Convention rights’). The convention rights most commonly relied upon are:
- The right to life – Article 2
- The prohibition of torture – Article 3
- The prohibition of slavery or forced labour – Article 4
- The right to liberty and security – Article 5
- The right to a fair trial – Article 6
- The right not to be punished without law – Article 7
- The right to respect for family life – Article 8
- Freedom of expression – Article 10
- Freedom of assembly and association – Article 11
- Freedom of thought, conscience and religion – Article 13
- Protection of property – Article 1 of the first protocol.
There is also a prohibition against discrimination.
Apart from the right to life, the prohibition of torture and slavery and the right not to be punished without law, the reference to rights in respect of the rights set out in the convention can cause confusion. This is because the enjoyment of all other rights identified by the Convention by one person has to be balanced against the rights of others. Often there is a judgment to be carried out between the rights that different individuals enjoy. If the rights of an adult conflict with the rights of a child, the rights of the child prevail.
The Law guarantees rights
- by requiring all Jersey legislation to be interpreted as far as possible in a way which is compatible with the Convention rights
- by requiring public authorities not to act in any way which is not compatible with Convention rights;
- Convention rights are part of Jersey law
- It changes the way in which the courts have interpreted the law in the past.
When the courts are hearing a case and interpreting the law that applies to it, they have to interpret law in a way that meets the requirements set by the Convention’s rights.
- The Courts cannot set aside principal legislation. However, the Court can issue a declaration that such legislation is incompatible with a Convention Right.
- If this happens there might be a lot of pressure to change the legislation that is not compatible with a Convention Rights.
- If subordinate legislation is incompatible with a Convention Right, the courts can either rule it as invalid and of no effect or refuse to apply it.
- The Courts must develop customary law in a way that is compatible with the Convention’s rights. It does not matter what the effect of the customary law has been before.
- People who believe their Convention rights have been breached will be able to rely on their Convention rights in any legal proceedings which involve a public authority. A case can be brought just because of a breach of a Convention right or because of a breach of a Convention right which forms part of another case.
- A court that finds that a public authority has breached the Convention rights will be able to award whatever remedy is available to it and which seems fair, including an award of damages.