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Human Rights (Jersey) Law 2000  (‘HRJ Law’)

LOCAL INFORMATION

7.20.5

Human Rights (Jersey) Law 2000  (‘HRJ Law’)

 

Extent:                 Jersey

Updated:             October 2017

 

Words you may need to know

Compatible – when something is slightly different to something else but the difference does not cause a problem.  The two things can exist together.

Customary law – law that has been developed as a result of customs and behaviours that people have practised for a long time.

Incompatible – The opposite of ‘compatible’ i.e. when something is too different to be compatible with something else.

Interpret – to translate or explain the meaning of something

Principal legislation – legislation that has received Royal Assent (approval) and been registered in the Royal Court

Public authority – for the purposes of the HRJ Law a public authority includes a court or tribunal;

States departments; parish authorities; police, prison and immigration officers; non-departmental public bodies and any person carrying out a public function

Subordinate legislation – law that is made under the authority of Principal Legislation and which does not need Royal Assent to come into force e.g. Regulations or orders made by the States of Jersey Ministers

Breached – broken

Remedy – solution or answer to make something better;

 

The Human Rights (Jersey) Law 2000 (“the HRJ Law”) came into force on the 10th December 2006.

The purpose of the HRJ Law is to include in Jersey law certain rights and freedoms which are guaranteed under the European Convention on Human Rights (‘the Convention rights’).

 

The convention rights most commonly relied upon are:

          i.                        The right to life - Article 2

        ii.                        The prohibition of torture – Article 3

      iii.                        The prohibition of slavery or forced labour – Article 4

      iv.                        The right to liberty and security – Article 5

        v.                        The right to a fair trial – Article 6

      vi.                        The right not to be punished without law - Article 7

    vii.                        The right to respect for family life – Article 8

  viii.                        Freedom of expression – Article 10

      ix.                        Freedom of assembly and association – Article 11

        x.                        Freedom of thought, conscience and religion – Article 13

      xi.                        Protection of property – Article 1 of the first protocol.

 

There is also a prohibition against discrimination.  This relates to the enjoyment of rights and freedom set out in the convention.  It is not a general rule prohibiting discrimination.

 

Apart from the right to life, the prohibition of torture and slavery and the right not to be punished without law, the reference to rights in respect of the rights set out in the convention can cause confusion.  This is because the enjoyment of all other rights identified by the Convention by one person has to be balanced against the rights of others.  Often there is a judgment to be carried out between the rights that different individuals enjoy.  It is therefore difficult to show that one of the rights set out in the convention has been breached.

 

The HRJ Law guarantees rights in two main ways-

i)                   by requiring all Jersey legislation to be interpreted as far as possible in a way which compatible with the Convention rights; and

ii)                 by requiring public authorities not to act in any way which is not compatible with Convention rights;

The Law can be viewed at: www.jerseylaw.je

The significant features of the HRJ Law are -

i)                   Convention rights are part of Jersey law

ii)                 It changes the way in which the courts have interpreted the law in the past. Now, when the courts are hearing a case and interpreting the Jersey law that applies to it, they have to interpret a law in a way that meets the requirements set by the Convention rights.  

iii)               The Courts cannot set aside principal legislation.  However, the Court can issue a declaration that such legislation is incompatible with a Convention Right.

iv)               If this happens there might be a lot of pressure to change the legislation that is not compatible with a Convention Rights.

v)                  If subordinate legislation is incompatible with a Convention Right the courts can either rule it as invalid and of no effect or refuse to apply it.

vi)               The Courts must develop customary law in a way which is compatible with the Convention rights. It does not matter what the effect of the customary law has been before.

 

vii)             People who believe their Convention rights have been breached will be able to rely on their Convention rights in any legal proceedings which involve a public authority. A case can be brought just because of a breach of a Convention right or because of a breach of a Convention right which forms part of another case.

viii)           A court which finds that a public authority has breached the Convention rights will be able to award whatever remedy is available to it and which seems fair including an award of damages.

 

There is more information about the Human Rights (Jersey) Law 2000 on the www.gov.je site:

https://www.gov.je/government/departments/homeaffairs/about/pages/humanrights.aspx