Legal skills and debates in Scotland
Legal skills and debates in Scotland

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Legal skills and debates in Scotland

4.1  Your human rights

Research into the use of the HRA 1998 in Scotland suggests that basic human rights points have been raised in only a tiny fraction of cases brought before the courts. The decisions in these cases have had an important but moderate impact on the courts, public policy, private practice and the legal system. The fair trial provisions in Article 6 have been raised in a number of criminal justice cases and have led to a number of changes, for example, the statutory abolition of temporary sheriffs, the provision of free legal representation to children appearing before a children’s panel. The Scottish Government has also pre-empted a number of potential challenges through legislative reform.

You should now watch the following video produced by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the national equality body. The Commission is a public body established by the Equality Act 2006. It is independent of government and, like the Scottish Human Rights Commission, has been awarded an ‘A’ status as a National Human Rights Institution by the UN.

Skip transcript: Video 3 Your human rights

Transcript: Video 3 Your human rights

Human rights in the UK go back hundreds of years. They're part of our history. But after the horrors of the Second World War, people across the world were determined that those atrocities must never happen again. Since then, the UK has played a leading role in ensuring our human rights are protected by law, both at home and around the world.
Today, these rights help protect our private and family life and allow us to enjoy a free press. They give us the right to form partnerships with and love whoever we want to. We have the right to demonstrate peacefully and the right to free speech. In fact, we have the right to education; the right to a fair trial; the right to vote in free and fair elections; the protection of law; the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; and ultimately, the right to life.
Human rights are the very fabric of our society. They protect our way of life in the United Kingdom. They guarantee our freedom and allow us to progress through our lives with fairness and dignity. So much of what we do in our everyday lives depends on our human rights, and we don't always realise it. When we are ill and as we grow older, we all have the right to care that is dignified and respectful.
These rights surround us and protect us, our families, and our friends all through our lives. Human rights belong to all of us without discrimination, whoever we are from birth until death. To find out more about your human rights and how they're protected by the law, visit
End transcript: Video 3 Your human rights
Copy this transcript to the clipboard
Print this transcript
Video 3 Your human rights
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Box 5 The Equality and Human Rights Commission

Our job is to help make Britain fairer. We do this by safeguarding and enforcing the laws that protect people’s rights to fairness, dignity and respect.

We aim to be an expert and authoritative organisation that is a centre of excellence for evidence, analysis and equality and human rights law. We also aspire to be an essential point of contact for policy makers, public bodies and business.

We use our unique powers to challenge discrimination, promote equality of opportunity and protect human rights. We work with other organisations and individuals to achieve our aims, but are ready to take tough action against those who abuse the rights of others.

Our vision

We live in a country with a long history of upholding people’s rights, valuing diversity and challenging intolerance. The Commission seeks to maintain and strengthen this heritage, while identifying and tackling areas where there is still unfair discrimination or where human rights are not being respected.

From the The Equality and Human Rights Commission  website May 31 2017

You should now listen to this audio which explores common human rights myths.

Download this audio clip.
Audio 1 Common human rights myths
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has over 40 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus