Human Rights Reform and "Functions of a Public Nature"

Erin Ferguson* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

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In December 2021, the United Kingdom government launched a consultation on its proposals to replace the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA) with a Bill of Rights. Among the twenty-nine questions posed in the consultation paper (CP) is whether the current definition of ‘public authorities’ under s 6 should be maintained, or whether it should be amended to provide ‘more certainty…as to which bodies or functions are covered’. In this note, I argue that this is a welcome question, considering that the courts have taken a restrictive approach to interpretation, arguably leading to a ‘gap in human rights protection’ as public services are increasingly outsourced to private providers. However, the question must be considered alongside the wider proposals for reform, which are unlikely to lead to greater certainty and are in fact likely to weaken human rights protection within the UK.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-250
Number of pages7
JournalEdinburgh Law Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2022


  • Human Rights Act 1998
  • Functions of a public nature
  • Public authorities


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