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Human Rights Act 1998

Volume 712: debated on Wednesday 1 July 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Bach on 22 June (WA 255), whether they will legislate to ensure that private bodies carrying out public functions will be subject to the Human Rights Act 1998. [HL4546]

Under Section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998, it is unlawful for a public authority to act in a way which is incompatible with a convention right; “public authority” is defined in Section 6(3) as including inter alia “any person certain of whose functions are functions of a public nature” unless, by virtue of Section 6(5), the nature of the act in question is private. A private body carrying out a function of a public nature is therefore subject to the Human Rights Act. The Government note that concerns have been expressed about the courts' interpretation of what constitutes a function of a public nature. The Government note these concerns and remain committed to consulting on this issue in due course.