What restrictions are allowed?

Human rights can be restricted, but all restrictions must be necessary and justified. This means that there are strict criteria that state authorities and officials need to follow for restrictions to be lawful. These criteria are sometimes referred to as the proportionality test or human rights restrictions test.

The proportionality test is an assessment that state officials need to make when restricting human rights. This test includes all important aspects that allow state officials to take a decision as to whether a human rights restriction is necessary and the extent to which it may be justified. The test involves three questions: 

  • Is the restriction based in law? 
  • Is there a legitimate reason (aim) for the restriction? 
  • Is the restriction proportional?

All questions in this analysis need to be answered in the affirmative. If the answer to any of these questions is a “no”, the human rights restriction is not lawful, and you are entitled to a remedy for a human rights violation.

About this Guide

This section of the Guide explains the proportionality test and what the considerations are that need to be taken into account under each question of the test.

Read more about:

Last updated 18/03/2023