The European Convention on Human Rights 1950, brought into English law by the Human Rights Act 1998, guarantees your most fundamental human rights, including the right to life, the right to freedom of expression and the right to liberty.
Freedom from discrimination is a right contained in Article 14 of the ECHR, and it makes it illegal to discriminate on any grounds 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.
If you have suffered discrimination, we can help bring a claim under a number of different pieces of law. Hodge Jones & Allen is one of the leading law firms in the UK specialising in this area (Chambers 2016). Our passionate and committed team of solicitors has vast experience in bringing and winning difficult, controversial and high profile cases, and we are dedicated to fighting on your behalf to protect your basic human rights.
Recent examples of our work in discrimination law include suing an immigration detention centre for racial discrimination, challenging the police for stopping and searching people based on race, challenging discriminatory bail conditions applied to people wrongly arrested during the London riots, failing to protect a homosexual prisoner from assault by homophobic inmates and persuading a school to apologise and train relevant staff after it excluded a pupil with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Claims can be brought under various pieces of law. This can include a claim under the Human Rights Act, but only where another right in the Act might have also been breached. There cannot be a ‘free standing’ discrimination claim, but a claim for discrimination can be included together with a claim that you suffered inhuman or degrading treatment, unlawful detention or a breach of your right to private and family life, for example.
In essence, Article 14 means that the rights in the Convention must be applied in the same way to different individuals whatever their background.
For example, when the police release a suspect on conditional bail, they may set conditions that interfere with the person’s right to private and family life or their right to freedom of assembly – for example, by preventing them from attending a particular area or event. If, for example, these conditions are applied disproportionately to black people in comparison to white people, this could amount to discrimination in breach of Article 14 ECHR.
The Human Rights Act means that if a public body such as the police, prison service, or a local authority have discriminated in the provision of public services, we can help you challenge this discrimination in the courts. We can bring Judicial Review challenges and force a public body to reconsider a discriminatory decision. We can bring civil claims which can lead to a declaration that your rights have been breached and, in some circumstances, to an award of compensation. These cases also have wider benefits because they can prevent others from suffering the same discrimination in the future.
To find out more and to see if we can help you, please contact us on our free telephone number 0800 437 0080, or contact us via our website. All communications will be treated in confidence, even where you do not become our client. If we can take on your case, we will give you full details about costs and advise you on the availability of legal aid and Conditional Fee or “no win, no fee” agreements.
If you want us to investigate a claim, it is important that you do not delay and you contact us as soon as possible. The law requires that cases are started at court within specific timescales. Most civil claims for compensation (for a breach of human rights) must be issued at court within one year, but to make sure evidence is collected and the case is properly prepared, the sooner you contact us, the better.
If you think you might be out of time, don’t let this stop you from calling us – we will advise you if this is a problem, and if we can take your case on, we will fight to get your claim heard even if the breach was a long time ago.
Our discrimination claim specialists are part of our London based human rights team. We have almost four decades of experience helping clients from around the UK with a wide variety of legal matters. For expert legal advice use our contact form or call us on 0808 250 6017 today.