​Human Rights In Everyday Life

Published date24 August 2020
Subject MatterEmployment and HR, Government, Public Sector, Discrimination, Disability & Sexual Harassment, Employee Rights/ Labour Relations, Human Rights
Law FirmLeigh Day
AuthorMr Jamie Beagent

Most of us are familiar with the term 'Human Rights' but might not know with what it really means, and how it affects our everyday lives.

If you'd like an introduction into human rights, why they are important, and how the Human Rights Act came about, we recommend reading our simple guide to the Human Rights Act 1998

If you've read an article in the newspaper or seen something in the news about Human Rights being infringed, you might have been shocked or saddened by the news, but it might still feel distant to you and your current situation

During this article, we'll be discussing everyday examples that are relatable to many, with the aim of raising your understanding of human rights and how important it is that you can recognise when they are being breached. We'll also be providing practical steps which you can take if you feel your rights, or somebody else's rights, are being infringed

Below are four everyday scenarios where our clients' rights have been infringed, specifically;

  • Article 3: freedom from torture or inhumane and degrading treatment

  • Article 5: the right to liberty and security

  • Article 8: right to a private and family life

  • Article 14: protection from discrimination

These are real-life case studies, but to protect our clients' privacy, their names have been changed

Scenario 1 - Inhumane treatment in hospital

Articles engaged: Article 3: freedom from torture or inhumane and degrading treatment, and Article 8: right to a private and family life

We acted for the family of Dorothy, who was admitted to hospital having suffered a stroke. Dorothy sadly passed away a few weeks later, at the age of 82. Dorothy's family were very upset about the care that she had received whilst in hospital, they believed she had suffered avoidable pain and distress, and had not been treated with dignity or respect. The family complained to the NHS Trust but felt that the response they received did not address their concerns

We acted on behalf of Dorothy's estate, bringing a claim in negligence and using the Human Rights Act to argue that Dorothy's rights under Article 3 and 8 had been breached. We obtained an opinion from an expert nurse and found that Dorothy had been in severe pain for long periods as a result of not receiving sufficient pain relief, that she was not given adequate food or fluid, and that staff failed to address her basic needs such as providing mouth care

Dorothy's estate was awarded a sum of damages in an out of court settlement.


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