Articles 1-5 of Human Rights Act 1998 and its implications on the Immigration Laws of the United Kingdom

Articles 1-5 of Human Rights Act 1998 and its implications on the Immigration Laws of the United Kingdom

In 1950, the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) came into effect and was implemented for countries included in the United Nations. The convention was put in place to protect the basic rights of a human being. In 1998, an extension of this convention was made in the form of an act passed. The act, known as the Human Rights Act of 1998, has been implemented to protect the basic rights of a human being and has been implemented in the United Kingdom.

The purpose of the act is to further protect and define the basic principles of freedom of any person who has to be dealt with in accordance with the laws of the United Kingdom.

The Immigration Rules of the United Kingdom are a compilation of laws regarding immigration in UK that have been passed throughout the years. The rules have been divided into several parts and define rules and procedures for different categories (such as Tier 5 visitor visa, Tier 4 student visa, tier 1 graduate entrepreneur visa, UK tier 1 investor visa, UK business immigration, England entrepreneur visa etc.) that an individual might be willing to apply on to enter the United Kingdom. These rules are intertwined, and made while keeping mind the Human Rights Act of 1998. With regards to immigration to UK, the Human Rights Act of 1998 is more commonly referred to when an applicant feels that he / she has been denied entry to UK, has been denied asylum in UK, or the individual feels that he / she has been wrongfully detained or deported. More specifically, the act works to define the rights of individuals during the appeal process.

The Human Rights Act of 1998 has been divided into several sections, with each section being referred to as an ‘article’. Each article works to define a different category that might apply to an individual. In addition, the act also contains Remedial Orders, Derogations and Reservation, Supplemental and other legislations such as ‘the right of the crown to intervene’.

If a person does not qualify to fall under the laws defined in the Immigration Rules (of visa categories such as of the student visa, visitor visa, tier 1 graduate entrepreneur visa, UK tier 1 investor visa, UK business immigration etc.) of the United Kingdom, or fails to fall under the United Nations convention that refers to regulations regarding a refugee’s status, he / she can still make appeals or file an application by referring to this act in UK.

Articles from Section 1 of the Human Rights Act of 1998 have been explained in detail below:



Article 1 - Obligation of the United Kingdom to respect the Human Rights of all human beings

This article of Section 1 of the Human Rights Act of 1998 has currently not been implemented into the domestic law of UK. But, the article sets forth a precedent for all relevant parties subject to the act to realize the principle of this article and therefore its implications in their jurisdiction.

Article 2 – Protects the Right to Life of a human being

The Home Secretary who heads the Head Office, reserves the power to remove any person who he / she feels is a threat to the well being of the general public of UK. However, any individual who feels that he / she are being unlawfully held in detention or being asked to leave UK by the UK government, and as a result are knowingly having their life put in danger, can ask to appeal the decision taken against them by stating this article of the Human Rights Act of 1998. They can make an appeal that the decision taken against them will lead to punishment or execution of a draconian nature.

  • Under the law of the United Kingdom, every individual has the right to life and this right protected by the law. Furthermore, unless an individual has been sentenced to death by a court that reserves this right, no individual shall be subject to deprivation of his / her life by any institution, individual or force within the United Kingdom.
  • The United Kingdom government shall not be subject to have deprived any individual of life if the case falls within the following scenarios:
  • The individual has been deprived of life while the government acted to defend any person or group of people, who were the subject of unlawful violence from the individual in question.
  • The individual was preventing the United Kingdom government from preventing his / her lawful arrest.
  • The individual was a participant of a riot or an insurrection in the United Kingdom.

Article 3 – Protects all individuals from any form of torture and treatment of an inhuman nature

Article 3 of Section 1 of the Human Rights Act protects all individuals from being the subject of any form of torture, punishment or treatment by a government official or institution that is of an inhumane nature. Because of this act, no representative of the United Kingdom government to torture any human being whether they be a national of the country or a foreigner.

As a result of this act, the Home Office is responsible for making decisions related to immigration of individuals that will prevent them from being subject to any inhumane treatment or torture. This means that the Home Office is not allowed to knowingly send any foreigner to a country where he or she might be tortured, treated in an inhumane manner, or put the individual in a position where his or her life might be put in danger. This includes individuals that might possibly be dangerous to the well being of the general public of UK.

On 27th of March, in the year 2013, an incident that defies this act occurred in the Abu Qatada case. The Guardian, a well established newspaper, reported that the Home Secretary at the time, Theresa May, attempted to deport an individual who she believed to be a radical Islamist cleric by the name of Abu Qatada. Although the Home Secretary had ordered the individual to be sent back to his home country of Jordan, an appeals court consisting of three judges all of whom blocked this decision. The court also remarked that by expelling Abu Qatada from the United Kingdom, the country would knowingly be putting his life in possible danger in his home country of Jordan where he faced possible torture. The court described the act of torture as evil and universally detested during the appeal trial. The next month, when the Home Secretary attempted to further challenge the decision taken by the three bench appeals court, she was blocked to continuing the matter further in the Supreme Court and was again reminded that the United Kingdom will not expel a person who might be put on trial of a nature where the evidence presented in the trial might also be of a nature that might have been obtained by torture.

Applicants who apply on asylum to come to UK, and are refused asylum, are in a fair position to have their appeal against the decision taken granted. This can happen if they provide substantial proof that if they are expelled from UK, their life might possibly be put in danger.

Article 4 – Protects individuals from being forced to work against their will and against all forms of slavery

Article 4 of Section 1 of the Human Rights Act of 1998 prohibits any individual from being held in captivity through slavery or forcefully holding them in servitude. This implies that no force, whether a government or non-government, is not allowed to force any individual to perform any form of labor. Although, certain exemptions to forced labor in this act include:

  • Any form of labor that the individual has to perform while he or she is being held under detention. The detention that applies on the individual should be according to the procedures laid out in the Article 5 of the convention or release from any form of detention applicable to certain conditions.
  • Any service extracted from the individual that is of a military nature and is ordered on the person by law. Or the equivalent of a service of a military nature instead of the compulsion of the military form of service.
  • A service that is ordered on the individual in the case an emergency has been put in place where the life of the entire community is threatened.
  • Individuals asked to perform any civic duty that is obligatory on them must do so.

Article 5 – Protects liberty and security of all individuals

Article 5 of Section 1 of the Human Rights Act of 1998 defines the rights of individuals to have their security and liberty protected by the state. The article states a few exemptions in which individuals will not be applicable to this article. These exemptions are:

  • If an individual has been tried and sentenced by a court to be detained, and the detention is lawful and is not unjust, this article will be exempted on the person.
  • If an individual who is obligated to obey any court order has refused to comply with what the court order has asked of the individual, this article will not be applicable.
  • If a person is suspected of having committed a crime and a relevant court has ordered the individual to be held until a verdict has been reached on the suspicion, the individual can be exempted from this article so he can be detained. The person can also be held if it is felt by the relevant court that the individual might commit a crime if not brought in.
  • If a minor is ordered by a relevant court to be detained so that educational supervision can be implemented on him or her, this article can be exempted. Exemption from this article can also be applicable if the minor is suspected of having committed an offence and has to be brought before the relevant government authority.
  • If an individual is suspected of possibly spreading a disease that is infectious to the public’s health if not detained, the article can be deemed null. The article can also be exempted if the person is mentally unstable, is a proven alcoholic or addicted to drugs.
  • If an individual is detained so that he might not possibly affect illegal entry of any other person within due cause, or a person who is currently being processed to be deported from the United Kingdom.

It is necessary for the relevant government authority that is ordered to detain the individual to inform the person of his / her rights and also state the reason for them being brought in for detention or arrest. It is also the right of every individual who is detained or arrested to be tried in a court and the right to a legal defense. The individual is given every right to state his / her case in court and challenge the arrest and the crime he or she has been accused of. The individual can only be sentenced to a crime by a judicial authority. Every individual, whether foreign or a national of UK, has the right to challenge their arrest if feels that they have been unjustly and unlawfully deprived of their liberty. And, if the individual has proven their liberty to be unlawfully deprived, proper compensations have to be made by the court.


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