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Department of Health: Human Rights Act 1998

Department of Health written question – answered on 4th March 2016.

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Photo of Jon Ashworth Jon Ashworth Shadow Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many civil law suits have been brought against his Department based either wholly or partially on grounds provided by the Human Rights Act 1998; how many such suits were settled out of court before a court judgment was delivered; and how much such settlements have cost the public purse since 2010.

Photo of Jane Ellison Jane Ellison The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

When the Human Rights Act came into force, no specific arrangements were put in place by the then government to record cases in the way requested. Furthermore, litigants in civil cases can rely on arguments based wholly or partly on the Human Rights Act 1998. In some cases, the Act is relied on in addition to other claims. Neither Government Legal Department records nor the County and High Courts case management systems distinguish between cases where the Act is invoked and cases where it is not. As a result, there are not currently data published which distinguish between cases where the Human Rights Act was or was not invoked. To obtain the information requested would involve a thorough review of all paper case files since 2010. To undergo this review would incur a disproportionate cost.

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