Concept of public authority under hra

The judgment it has handed down has potentially significant implications for water companies and other privatised companies operating in regulated industries such as utilities and transport - and not just in the context of the EIRs.

Concept of public authority under hra

Hugely important though this issue is, its well-documented intractability may have obscured deeper issues relating to the inherent mechanics of the scheme itself. Two such issues are the meaning and scope of the notion of a private act under s 6 5 and the rights-status of hybrid public authorities when performing public as opposed to private functions.

They are important not just in their own right but also as potential clues to the proper interpretation of s 6 3 b. As I have argued elsewhere at [] PLit is difficult to see how judges could ever determine the scope of that provision correctly without first being clear as to how the scheme of liability it triggers actually works, and what it does to the defendants to which it applies.

In this post I offer my own. My end point is agreement with his basic contention that Arnold J was mistaken to believe that the Olympic Delivery Authority the ODA enjoyed Convention rights of its own in that case.

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But our thinking on each point differs somewhat, as will be seen. These, of course, are obviously public bodies such as government departments, the NHS and the armed forces, all of whose activities are caught by the Convention.

In exercising its functions the ODA must obey any directions given by the Secretary of State Sch 1, para 18 1 bwho appoints its members and chairman following consultation with the Mayor of London Sch 1, para 1 1.

Despite its formal status under s 3 1 as a body corporate, the ODA is evidently not a constitutionally selfish private organisation. Seemingly troubled by the idea that the ODA might absolutely lack Convention rights as a core public authority, he appears to favour the view that it is a hybrid public authority instead: Mead therefore envisages an all-or-nothing distinction between being a hybrid public authority and enjoying Convention rights oneself: I have argued before at [] PL that hybrid public authorities do not lose Convention protection when acting in their public capacities.

Concept of public authority under hra

It is possible in a given case for a hybrid both to be attacked under the Convention and to defend itself using its own Convention rights.

The issue has never been judicially resolved, as Mead observes, and a handful of commentators — notably Buxton LJ, in YL v Birmingham City Council [] EWCA Civ 26, at [75] — have previously assumed that hybrid public authorities do indeed lack Convention protection when engaging in public activity.

But under the HRA as presently drafted there is nevertheless a right answer.

Concept of public authority under hra

What the issue therefore boils down to is the interpretation of the Strasbourg case-law on the meaning of Art But if it is a victim under Art 34, then it follows that it must enjoy its own Convention rights domestically.

It is not a million miles, to borrow from some familiar examples, from denying Convention protection to those with red hair — or to fishing companies without the requisite number of British directors. Parliament could of course defy Strasbourg by legislating expressly for rights-stripping if it wished.

But in the absence of any such move, the conclusion is irresistible: Although I spare readers a lengthy re-rehearsal of my reasons for thinking that this would indeed occur these can be found at [] PL, it is certainly worth reiterating the point made above, that Strasbourg has constructed a rigid and binary institutional divide between governmental and non-governmental bodies under Art Under no circumstances will its Art 34 status change according to the nature of the activity it performs.

Governmental organisations are governmental through and through; private organisations are private through and through, and therefore enjoy Convention protection at all times. So the point I am making on the rights-status issue is this: If the ODA were a hybrid public authority, which I have argued anyway is not the case, then it would be entitled to its rights in whichever capacity it acted.Williams, Alexander () 'Public authorities: what is a hybrid public authority under the HRA?', in The impact of the UK Human Rights Act on private law.

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. An analysis of when the HRA subjects private bodies to the Convention is highly germane to.

Table of contents for Employment law and human rights / Robin Allen, Rachel Crasnow, Anna Beale.

Section 6(1) of the Human Rights Act (HRA) states that it is unlawful for a public authority to act in way that is incompatible with a Convention right unless a statutory provision prevents it from doing so. The Human Rights Act imposes a series of important duties on 'public authorities' to respect the rights and freedoms of others.

But what exactly is a public authority for this purpose? The answer to this question cannot be found on the face of the Act, although section 6(3) does provide that the concept includes, "any person whose.

The Human Rights Act (the “HRA”) was intended to make the exercise of public power more fully accountable against standards of fundamental human rights and to provide effective remedies in UK courts for breaches of human rights.

basic distinction between a claim under the HRA for compensation in respect of the consequences of maladministration and a claim by a member of the public against a public officer for damages for breach of a duty owed in T. The width of the concept of “public authority” under the Human Rights Act (HRA ) is of great importance, determining the ambit of those bodies which must not act incompatibly with rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Alexander Williams: The Scope of Section 6 HRA Revisited | UK Constitutional Law Association