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Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003

Human Rights assessment

40.The RAIB provisions of this Act, and those matters that will be included in regulations made under a power in this Act, have been considered for their compatibility with the European Convention of Human Rights. Although certain aspects of RAIB provisions engage rights protected by the ECHR, the Government considers that these may be justified.

41.RAIB inspectors will have the power to enter any land for the purposes of conducting an investigation into a railway accident or incident. The exercise of this power could interfere with a person’s right to respect for a private and family life or home (protected by Article 8) or could interfere with a person’s peaceful enjoyment of their possessions (protected by Article 1 of the First Protocol). However, even if these rights were interfered with, the Government considers such interference justified on the grounds that this statutory power is necessary to ensure public safety on the railways; and it is in the general public interest that such investigations take place.

42.To assist RAIB in working to improve safety on the railways, it is important that people feel that they can talk freely to RAIB inspectors, without fear that what they say might be used against them in another way (such as legal proceedings). With this in mind, it is intended that regulations made under section 9 will provide that statements obtained by RAIB inspectors may only be disclosed to a third party (such as a prosecutor) if a court orders that such disclosure is in the public interest, or if the person who has made the statement release it themselves. This will go towards bolstering the existing protection already afforded by Article 6 of the ECHR.

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