In the United Kingdom (UK) damages violations of human rights law are available through the unique standalone mechanism provided by the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA). The HRA has been designed to replicate at the national level the treatment a claimant would receive before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). Courts contemplating an award of damages under the HRA must therefore consider the principles set out in the HRA itself, including other remedies granted and the consequences of the award, as well as the principles applied by the ECtHR. However, despite the numerous principles applied to the award of damages under the HRA, there remain very few reported cases where damages have been awarded. There is also very little academic discussion of this body of jurisprudence. It has been suggested that it would be more appropriate for a tort model for damages to be adopted, but it is not clear that this would constitute a more effective remedy. Real justice for victims could be better achieved were national courts to contemplate in more detail the rationale for damages awards in this context, and pay closer attention to developments at the ECtHR level.
28 October 2015
'Damages for Violations of Human Rights Law in the United Kingdom' (Queen Mary School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 204/2015) by Merris Amos comments