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Human rights inquiry 2009

Our human rights inquiry 2009

The Equality and Human Rights Commission launched its Human Rights Inquiry in 2008 to find out how human rights work in Britain. After the most comprehensive research undertaken in the 10 years since the Human Rights Act became law, we published our report in 2009.

You can read the Human Rights Inquiry full report or the Executive Summary.

The main purpose of the Inquiry was to:

  • assess the effectiveness of human rights protection in Britain and the strength of the culture of respect for human rights, and
  • consider how the Human Rights Act can help realise the vision of a society built on fairness and respect.

The report was based on evidence from nearly 3,000 people. We consulted people from all walks of life, including the general public, the voluntary and community sector, central and local government, public services, advice agencies, academics and inspectorates.

The Inquiry found plenty of evidence of the positive impact of the Human Rights Act on people’s lives. We found how a human rights approach can make public services better, improving the quality of decision making and staff performance. A survey also showed strong public support for the concept of human rights and the need for the law to protect these rights.

We also made recommendations to strengthen the role of human rights in the public sector. They included the need for:

  • stronger leadership in public authorities to help staff prioritise human rights
  • better information, advice, training for public sector bodies
  • more help for public authorities and voluntary groups to make a human rights central to their work, and
  • a Government review on whether the Commission should be allowed to provide legal help to members of the public in cases involving only human rights legislation.

Last updated: 05 May 2016