The extent to which the courts will apply convention rights “horizontally” is not yet clear. “Victims” will not be able to bring direct claims against non-public authorities for infringements of convention rights, but they may be able to “import” the rights into claims brought under other heads of action. The courts could use this method to develop key areas of the law that affect the media.
Human rights do not apply just to humans, but also to companies and unincorporated associations. Clearly, rights such as the right to life apply only to people, but others, such as the right to a fair trial, can easily apply to companies. The right to a private life lies somewhere in between. The Appeal Court held that a company can have a right to privacy in the context of a complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Commission (R v BSC, ex parte BBC ). However, Lord Hale indicated that whether a company could have a right to privacy under the HRA was “a question for another day”.