Joint Committee On Human Rights Third Report

Right to respect for the home

42. In Adams, one of the petitioners argued that the legislation would lead to the loss of the tied cottage that he occupied by virtue of his work for a hunt, and that it would thereby infringe his right to respect for his home under ECHR Article 8. Lord Nimmo Smith rejected this argument, because the loss of the home would be a consequential rather than a direct effect of the legislation, and might not materialise at all. Other petitioners argued that preventing them from hunting on their own land, on which their homes were situated, infringed their right to respect for their homes. Lord Nimmo Smith decided that 'home' did not include the whole of a large estate in which a variety of open air activities could be carried on. It connoted principally a person's habitation and its immediate surroundings.[35] In the light of this ruling, it is, in our view, legitimate to take the view that the present Bill would be unlikely to engage the right to respect for the home under ECHR Article 8.

The right to be free of discrimination

43. Human rights law provides a right to be free of discrimination. Under ECHR Article 14, the prohibited discrimination must relate to the enjoyment of other Convention rights, and be 'on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.' Article 14 applies where discrimination relates to a matter falling within the ambit of another Convention right. The only other Convention right currently engaged by the Bill, if our analysis is correct, is the right to peaceful enjoyment of possessions under P1/1. In Adams the petitioners suggested that discriminating against mounted hunters with dogs, but not other hunters, fell within Article 14. Lord Nimmo Smith accepted this, but decided that the discrimination was lawful because it had an objective and rational justification, namely that there was evidence that mounted foxhunting with dogs was less efficient and caused greater suffering than other methods of killing foxes.[36] We are prepared to accept that it would be legitimate to argue that the Bill does not engage Article 14 directly or indirectly. The same applies to the free-standing right to be free of discrimination under ICCPR Article 26.

35   Adams at para. 102 of the judgment Back

36   Adams at para. 136 of the judgment Back

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