The protection of freedom under the Human Rights Act: some illustrations

Politics and Insights

By Helen Wildbore, Research Officer, Human Rights Futures Project, LSE
Some examples of what difference the Human Rights Act (HRA) has made.
Protest: Preventing demonstrators reaching a protest is unjustified intrusion into right to freedom of assembly.
The decision by the police to stop a coach of demonstrators reaching an anti-war demonstration in 2003 was challenged under the HRA. The police concluded that a breach of the peace was not imminent but decided to send the coaches home with a police escort to prevent a breach of the peace occurring at the demonstration when the passengers arrived. The court said that the police must take no more intrusive action than appeared necessary to prevent the breach of the peace.
The police had failed to discharge the burden of establishing that the actions they took were proportionate and constituted the least restriction necessary to the rights of freedom of expression (Article 10) and freedom…

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