The standard limiation period is 6 years. So why are human rights act breaches - supposedly more serious than other matters - confined to one year?

  • 2
    Because the lawmaker said so? Why a law is what it is is usually a question for politics SE.
    – Trish
    Feb 20, 2023 at 10:36
  • @Trish yes, that is part of the answer, but a complete answer would explain in which law and which part thereof they so said. Feb 20, 2023 at 14:05
  • which might in turn lead to a richer insight as to what was the rationale behind so saying. Feb 20, 2023 at 14:06
  • 3
    What's your research effort for this question? Knowing nothing about this law myself, Google immediately suggested that you are talking about the Human Rights Act of 1998. The text of the act, like all other British law, is readily available at legislation.gov.uk. It is 28 pages long, so I don't think it would be unreasonable for you to at least skim through it for yourself. Feb 20, 2023 at 15:38
  • I have read the HRA before but I don't recall it saying anything about actions as such rather than simply setting out the links so i thought this might pertain somehow specifically to actions against police. but in retrospect i suppose i only was familiar with the schedule of articles. Feb 20, 2023 at 17:08

1 Answer 1


Because HRA1998 says so, but it's not an absolute limit and is subject to discretion by the court:

(1)A person who claims that a public authority has acted (or proposes to act) in a way which is made unlawful by section 6(1) may—

(a)bring proceedings against the authority under this Act in the appropriate court or tribunal, or (b)rely on the Convention right or rights concerned in any legal proceedings,but only if he is (or would be) a victim of the unlawful act.

(5)Proceedings under subsection (1)(a) must be brought before the end of—

(a)the period of one year beginning with the date on which the act complained of took place; or

(b)such longer period as the court or tribunal considers equitable having regard to all the circumstances,but that is subject to any rule imposing a stricter time limit in relation to the procedure in question.

  • hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/1998-05-24/debates/… may be illuminating (the Minister is explaining the rationale). "A longer limitation period would skew the balance too much against public authorities" but there is also the escape hatch in (b). The main comparator is the 3-month limit on judicial reviews.
    – alexg
    Feb 21, 2023 at 14:53

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