UK Constitutional Rights

The UK does not have a codified or written constitution like some other countries. Instead, its constitutional framework is based on a combination of statutes, common law principles, constitutional conventions, and international treaties. As a result, the recognition and protection of constitutional rights in the UK are somewhat different from countries with explicit constitutional documents. However, certain rights and freedoms are recognised and protected in the UK through various legal mechanisms.

Common law rights: The UK has a long history of common law principles that protect fundamental rights. These rights have evolved through court decisions and judicial interpretations over time. Examples of common law rights include the right to personal liberty, freedom of speech, freedom of association, and the right to a fair trial.

European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR): The UK is a signatory to the ECHR, which is an international human rights treaty. The ECHR incorporates a range of fundamental rights and freedoms, including the right to life, freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and the right to a fair trial. Individuals in the UK can bring claims before the domestic courts or, ultimately, before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg if they believe their rights under the ECHR have been violated.

Human Rights Act 1998: The Human Rights Act incorporated the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the ECHR into UK law. It gives individuals the ability to enforce their ECHR rights in domestic courts without having to go to the European Court of Human Rights. The Act requires public authorities to act in a way that is compatible with the ECHR rights unless specifically prevented by primary legislation.

Equality Act 2010: The Equality Act aims to protect individuals from discrimination and promotes equality in various areas, including age, disability, gender, race, religion, and sexual orientation. It prohibits direct and indirect discrimination, harassment, and victimisation, and establishes a framework for challenging discriminatory practices.

Freedom of Information Act 2000: The Freedom of Information Act provides individuals with the right to access information held by public authorities in the UK. It promotes transparency and accountability by allowing individuals to request and receive information from public bodies, subject to certain exemptions.

Devolution settlements: The UK's devolution settlements, such as those for Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, provide additional constitutional rights and powers to these regions. They include provisions for self-governance, legislative powers, and the protection of specific rights and interests relevant to each devolved jurisdiction.

The recognition and protection of constitutional rights in the UK can be influenced by legal developments, court decisions, and changes in legislation. While there is no single, comprehensive constitutional document that outlines all constitutional rights in the UK, these rights are upheld through a combination of legal sources, including common law, international treaties, and domestic legislation.
Back to blog
UOL Case Bank

UOL Case Bank

Upon joining, you become a valuable UOL student and gain instant access to over 2,100 case summaries. UOL Case Bank is constantly expanding. Speed up your revision with us now.

Subscribe Now

Where are our students from?

Yale University
Council of Europe
Baker Mckenzie 
University of Chicago
Columbia University
New York University
University of Michigan 
University College London (UCL)
London School of Economics (LSE)
King’s College London (KCL)
University of London
University of Manchester
University of Zurich
University of York
Brandeis University
University of Exeter
University of Sheffield
Boston University
University of Washington
University of Leeds
University of Law
Royal Holloway, University of London 
Birkbeck, University of London
SOAS, University of London
University of Kent
University of Hull
Queen’s University Belfast
Toronto Metropolitan University
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
University of Buckingham

  • Criminal Practice

    Diagrams and Charts

    Our carefully designed diagrams and charts will guide you through complex legal issues.

  • Criminal Law

    Clear and Succinct Definitions

    Key concepts are concisely defined to help you understand legal topics quickly.

  • Property Law

    Statutory Provisions

    Statutory provisions are provided side by side with legal concepts to help you swiftly locate the relevant legislation.

  • Public Law

    Case Summaries

    We have summarised important cases for you so that you don't need to read long and boring cases.

  • Evidence

    Rules and Exceptions

    Rules and exceptions are clearly listed so that you know when a rule applies and when it doesn't.

  • Company Law


    Legal terms and key concepts are explained at the beginning of each chapter to help you learn efficiently.

  • Case Law

    Case law is provided side by side with legal concepts so that you know how legal principles and precedents were established.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Law Essay Guide

    You will learn essential law exam skills and essay writing techniques that are not taught in class.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Problem Question Guide

    We will show you how to answer problem questions step by step to achieve first-class results.

  • Conflict of Laws

    Structured Explanations

    Complex legal concepts are broken down into concise and digestible bullet point explanations.

  • Legal System and Method

    Legal Research

    You will learn legal research techniques with our study guide and become a proficient legal researcher.

  • Jurisprudence and Legal Theory


    All essential concepts, principles, and case law are included so that you can answer exam questions quickly.