Case Studies from British Institute of Human Rights

Human rights: empowering individuals!

Person involved in the human rights and older people's project

“Anything you do for any section of society, like older people, can benefit everyone”– Hackney group participant


BIHR and Age UK are currently working on an ‘Older People and Human Rights’ project. Three pilot groups have been given human rights training sessions: a group in Stockport campaigning on access to public toilets, a group in Hackney lobbying to protect the Human Rights Act, and a group in Derbyshire making a DVD....

Human Rights Act used to enable a mental health patient to get married

A man who was a long-term resident patient in a mental health hospital wished to marry his partner. However, his consultant was unsure whether the marriage should be allowed as he felt that the man might lack capacity to consent to marriage. Staff at the hospital approached this by considering whether any human rights issues were involved and how they could make a decision which respected the man's human rights.

Staff realised that this situation had implications for the...

Human Rights Act used to get a learning disabled girl school transport

A local authority had a policy of providing school transport for children with special educational needs living more than 3 miles from their school. A young learning disabled girl lived 2.8 miles from the special school she attended. Despite being unable to travel independently, she was advised by the authority that she should instead take two buses to and from school each day.

An independent parental supporter who had attended a BIHR training session supported the girl’s...

Human Rights Act used to stop an older couple being seperated

Mr and Mrs Driscoll had lived together for over 65 years. He was unable to walk unaided and relied on his wife to help him move around. She was blind and used her husband as her eyes. They were separated after Mr Driscoll became unwell and was moved into a residential care home. Mrs Driscoll wanted to move to the home with her husband but was told she did not meet the criteria used to by the local authority to allocate places.
Speaking to the media,...

Using the Human Rights Act to challenge the threatened eviction of a woman in labour

A failed asylum seeker was living in accommodation provided by the National Asylum Support Service (NASS). NASS issued a ‘termination of support’ notice to the woman while she was giving birth in hospital. She was a single mother and this was her second child. The notice period expired whilst she was still in hospital and upon return she and her children faced eviction.

After receiving BIHR training, a manager at a voluntary sector organisation suggested to NASS that...

Using the Human Rights Act used to challenge the blanket use of tilt-back chairs in a nursing home

An NHS nursing home in London had a practice of routinely placing residents in special ‘tilt-back’ wheelchairs, regardless of their mobility needs. This meant that residents who were able to walk unaided were stopped from doing so. This had a severe impact on their ability to make choices about everyday activities, as well as their capacity to feed themselves and use the bathroom.

A consultant pointed out to staff that their failure to consider the different mobility...