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 man's human rights protected under the Human Rights Act, particualrly his right to respect for private and family life (Article 8 ECHR) and his right to marry and found a family (Article 12 ECHR). Once they had identified which human rights were involved they felt better equipped to support the man. Using the framework of ensuring people can access their rights and only limiting these human rights when necessary and proportionate, staff agreed that it was in the man's best interests to support him to marry.
For more information see BIHR's The Human Rights Act: Changing Lives (2nd Edition, 2008)
BIHR is an independent human rights charity that is committed to challenging inequality and social justice in everyday life in the UK.
We want a society that has become stronger because all human beings are equally valued, can participate fully and are treated with fairness, dignity and respect.
We believe that human rights have meaning and benefit for everyone. They are not just abstract or legal concepts and documents – they can be brought to life, and used practically to create a fairer, more tolerant society and tackle inequality and disadvantage.
We think that this can only happen if human rights are understood, applied and claimed, outside the courtroom and by a wide range of people and organisations.
So our mission is to bring human rights to life – supporting and empowering people and organisations to use human rights to improve their own lives and the lives of others.