Human Right What it means Examples of relevant issues
The right not to be treated in an inhuman or
degrading way

Inhuman treatment means treatment causing severe mental or physical suffering

Degrading Treatment means treatment that is grossly humiliating or undignified

Physical or psychological or other types of harm

Soiled or unchanged clothing or bedding

Leaving food for service users or patients when they are unable to feed themselves

Personal care carried out in view of other people

The right to respect for private and family life, home and correspondence

Family life is wider than blood or formal relationships

Private life covers things like privacy, personal choices, relationships and participation in community life

Home means respect for the home someone has. Not a right to housing.

Correspondence means all communication for example like phone calls, letters, email

Independent living

Privacy at home, in a hospital or care home

Personal information including financial or medical records

Family visits, separation of families and other relationships due to hospital or care home admissions

Closure of residential care homes or hospital

Staff in care homes, supported accommodation or hospital etc controlling mail, phone calls etc without authority

The right to freedom or liberty

This is not a right of individuals to do what ever they want but a right not to be deprived of liberty in an arbitrary way

Informal detention in hospital of people who lack capacity to consent to admission

Delays in discharging people detained under mental health legislation

Excessive, arbitrary and inappropriate use of restraint in health and social care settings

The right to a fair trial

This does not just apply to criminal proceedings but to a broad range of areas where an individuals civil rights or responsibilities are decided upon. It includes an individual’s right to:

  • a chance to present a case before decision is made
  • reasons for the decision
  • an independent and impartial tribunal or hearing

The complaints procedures of public bodies

Compensation claims

Appeal procedures in social security, mental health care and treatment tribunals

The right not to be discriminated against

Discrimination can be direct or indirect. This right does not apply on its own. An individual can only use the human rights act to argue discrimination if another human right is breached.

However, the right not to be discriminated may have been breached under other legislation such as the Disability Discrimination Act 1995

Access to medical treatment or community care services, based on age, disability, gender or ethnic origin etc

Information or options presented in inaccessible ways

Failing to offer food to take account of cultural differences such as kosher or halal foods

The right to life

Public authorities must take steps to protect an individual’s life, in almost all circumstances, and must not take away a persons life except in very limited circumstances. For example, when lawfully defending someone from violence.

This protection requires that there should be an official investigation into deaths resulting from the states failure to protect life or use of force.

The right to life is a fundamental right but this does not mean that there is a right to medical treatment in all circumstances.

Do not resuscitate orders placed by medical staff because they consider the patients life to be of low quality. This could be a breach of human rights

Refusal of life saving treatment

Advance directives

Deaths caused by negligence

Local Authorities failing to act to protect an adult who is at series risk of harm


Alzheimer Scotland - Action on Dementia logoAlzheimer Scotland - Action on Dementia is a company limited by guarantee, registered in Scotland 149069. Registered Office: 22 Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh EH3 7RN. It is recognised as a charity by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator, no. SC022315.

Visit our main website at www.alzscot.org