Human Rights Act: What is it and why does Michael Gove want to scrap the policy?


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The Conservatives’ manifesto says the party wants to scrap the Human Rights Act. David Cameron has appointed Michael Gove, the former education secretary, to be Justice Secretary; this means he’ll be responsible for the policy.

The Human Rights Act is a piece of law, introduced in 1998, that guarantees human rights in Britain. It was introduced as one of the first major reforms of the last Labour government.

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In practice, the Act has two main effects. Firstly, it incorporates the rights of the European Convention on Human Rights into domestic British law.

What this means is that if someone has a complaint under human rights law they do not have to go to European courts but can get justice from British courts.


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Secondly, it requires all public bodies – not just the central government, but institutions like the police, NHS, and local councils – to abide by these human rights.

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