Human Rights and Mental Illness

Savage v South Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust [2007] All ER (D) 316 (Dec); [2007] EWCA Civ 1375 (20 December 2007)

The UK Court of Appeal has held that the right to life includes a positive obligation to actively safeguard life and that the negligent failure of a psychiatric hospital to take adequate steps to prevent the suicide of a patient amounted to a violation of that patient’s right to life.

Read More

Inadequate Access to Health Care for Prisoner with Mental Illness a Violation of the Prohibition against Torture and Ill-Treatment

Dybeku v Albania [2007] ECHR 41153/06 (18 December 2007)

The European Court has held that public authorities have a particular duty and responsibility for the health and well-being of those in its custody or detention.  The Court further held that a failure to provide adequate mental health care to detainees in circumstances which do not adequately accommodate, or which result in the deterioration of, a person’s mental health, may amount to a violation of the prohibition on torture and ill-treatment.

Read More

Prisoners and the Right to Privacy and Family Life

Dickson v United Kingdom [2007] ECHR 44362/04 (Grand Chamber, 4 December 2007)

On 4 December 2007, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights handed down it’s decision in Dickson v The United Kingdom, a case concerning prisoners’ access to artificial insemination facilities.  The applicants complained that the refusal by the Secretary of State to allow the first applicant access to artificial insemination facilities whilst in prison constituted a breach of the applicants’ rights under art 8 (right to private and family life) and art 12 (right to marry and found a family) of the European Convention on Human Rights.  The Grand Chamber held (by a 12:5 majority) that there had been a violation of art 8, but that it was not necessary to examine the complaint under art 12.

Read More

Imprisoning a Journalist for Refusing to Disclose Confidential Sources in Court a Violation of the Right to Freedom of Expression

Voskuil v The Netherlands [2007] ECHR 64752/01 (22 November 2007)

The European Court of Human Rights recently held that the imprisonment of a journalist for refusing to disclose the identity of a confidential source constituted a violation of the right to freedom of expression under art 10 of the European Convention.

Read More

UK High Court Considers Handcuffing of Prisoners with Medical Conditions

R (on the application of Graham) v Secretary of State for Justice [2007] All ER (D) 383 (Nov) (23 November 2007, Queen's Bench Division,Administrative Court, Mitting J)

The Queen's Bench Division of the UK High Court has considered whether handcuffing two sick prisoners during treatment violated their right to freedom from cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment under art 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Read More

State Failure to Adequately Protect from Defamation a Violation of the Right to Privacy

Pfeifer v Austria [2007] ECHR 12566/03 (15 November 2007)

In a judgment handed down on 15 November 2007, the European Court of Human Rights held that a state’s failure to adequately protect a person from defamation amounted to a breach of art 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which enshrines the right to respect for private and family life.  The judgment also considered the balance between the right to private life and reputation, on the one hand, and the right to freedom of expression on the other.

Read More

European Court Considers the Right to an Oral Hearing and Permissible Limitations on the Right to a Fair Hearing

Oganova v Georgia [2007] ECHR 25717/03 (13 November 2007)

The European Court of Human Rights in Oganova v Georgia found that, generally, the right to a fair hearing implies the right to an oral hearing but that, in certain special circumstances, it may be permissible for an appellate court to determine a matter by written submissions in the interests of the efficient administration of justice.

Read More

Proximity or Imminence of Trial Not a ‘Relevant and Sufficient Reason’ Justifying Detention on Remand

Gault v United Kingdom [2007] ECHR 1271/05 (20 November 2007)

In Gault v United Kingdom, the European Court of Human Rights held that the detention of Ms Lesley Gault pending re-trial violated art 5(1)(c) of the European Convention on Human Rights.  The Court held that no separate issue arose under art 8 of the Convention in respect of the applicant’s right to private and family life in relation to her three young children.

Read More

European Court Considers Scope of Right to Freedom of Assembly and Association

Galstyan v Armenia [2007] ECHR 26986/03 (15 November 2007)

The European Court of Human Rights has recently considered the content and application of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, holding that ‘the right to freedom of assembly is a fundamental right in a democratic society’ and that any exceptions to the right ‘must be narrowly interpreted and the necessity for any restrictions must be convincingly established’.

Read More

Grand Chamber of European Court Considers Nature and Scope of the Right to Non-Discrimination and Equal Enjoyment of Human Rights

DH and Others v the Czech Republic [2007] ECHR 57325/00 (Grand Chamber) (13 November 2007)

The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights has held that the education policy in the Czech Republic, which resulted in the majority of Roma children being placed in special schools designed for the mentally handicapped, violated art 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights.  Article 14 of the Convention enshrines the right to non-discrimination and the equal enjoyment of human rights.  The Court held that the education policy indirectly discriminated against the applicants on the basis of their race in relation to their right to education.

Read More