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Human Rights Act 1998

A general guide to the Human Rights Act, with information about your human rights and what you can do if someone doesn't respect them.

Article 1 of Protocol 1: Right to property

This is a qualified right that protects your right to property. Property includes:

  • land
  • houses
  • money
  • pensions
  • some welfare benefits.

If you have a mental health problem, the right to property may be relevant to you in the following situations:

  • Where your benefits assessments and/or payments are carried out incorrectly or in a discriminatory way.
  • Where your possessions are lost by state institutions, such as in care homes or hospitals.

Article 2 of Protocol 1: Right to education

This is a non-absolute right which protects the right to education and makes sure that students have access to education and teaching.

This includes:

  • The right to go to school, university or other education institution.
  • The right to get official recognition when studies have been completed, like a certificate of completion or university degree.

The right to education is particularly important when it comes to children and young people with mental health problems. No child or young person below the school leaving age should be denied access to education just because they are receiving medical treatment for a mental health problem.


Alex is a 14-year-old girl who has several mental health problems, and she has been excluded from school because of behavioural issues. The local authority has accepted that they need to find her a suitable place to be educated, but have failed to put in place any arrangements for her education for a number of weeks.

This could be a breach of her right to education.

Article 3 of Protocol 1: Right to vote

This right can be restricted by law, for example, the minimum age to vote is 18 and people serving a prison sentence are not able to vote.

If you have mental health problems or are detained under the Mental Health Act 1983, you do have the right to vote.


Joseph is detained under section 3. He has been told that he is not allowed to vote in the next elections. This could be a breach of his right to vote.

This information was published in January 2020.

This page is currently under review. All content was accurate when published. 

References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.

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