What Human Rights do for Disability

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Disability
2009
UK

There’s protection for vulnerable adults mistreated in hospitals

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A patient with cerebral palsy was forbidden from eating and was fed through a tube in his stomach, against his wishes. A campaign group used human rights to persuade a hospital panel to agree to his wishes.

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TOP 50
Disability
2002
Europe

The UK can ban assisted suicide

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A woman who suffered from motor neurone disease complained that the ban on assisted suicide breached her human rights. The court said it didn't breach her right to private life because the ban was not disproportionate.

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Disability
2011
UK

You can’t shut a library without considering impact on disabled people

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Individuals, including a man with a learning disability, challenged changes to councils’ library services. Equality duties had been breached by the councils’ failures to consider the potential impact on the disabled

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Disability
2012
UK

The police mustn’t use excessive force when restraining disabled people

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A severely autistic man was restrained by police. The conduct of the police had violated the prohibition against torture, his rights to liberty and security, respect for his private and family life, and disability discrimination laws.

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TOP 50
50 Cases
UK
2001

You can’t be detained without medical proof of why

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If you’re detained by the state because you are mentally ill, the reason for your detention must be regularly reviewed. It wasn't for detained mental health patients to demonstrate why they should be released - the treating clinicians should have to justify continuing detention. The law was later changed.

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    Disability
    1975
    UK

    Sterilisation is considered the deprivation of a basic human right

    Related European Convention Articles

    This case was about the wardship of an 11 year old girl with mental health problems. The court said sterilisation was the deprivation of a basic human right and it would, if for non-therapeutic reasons without consent, be a violation of that right.

    Disability
    2001
    Europe

    A wheelchair is not an acceptable sleeping arrangement in custody

    Related European Convention Articles

    A woman had been detained by police for contempt of court. She had to sleep in her wheelchair as there weren't enough beds. The Court found that this, the dangerously cold conditions, and not being able to go to the toilet without male assistance, was degrading treatment.

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      TOP 50
      50 Cases
      2014
      UK

      Assisting suicide is still a crime, but watch this space

      Related European Convention Articles

      Two profoundley disabled men wanted help in ending their lives, which would be a crime. They were unsuccessful, but the court said that the criminal offence could breach the right to respect for private life. The Human Rights Act doesn't let courts override Parliament but, unusually, they did ask Parliament to reconsider.

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      Disability
      2015
      UK

      A disabled person can’t be evicted if it’s discriminatory

      Related European Convention Articles

      A disabled man facing eviction said he was being discriminated against by his landlord. The Supreme Court said that judges have to consider discrimination eviction cases carefully and in detail.

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        Disability
        2013
        UK

        A woman with Down’s Syndrome wasn’t force sterilised

        Related European Convention Articles

        A local authority wanted a court to let doctors sterilise a woman with Down’s Syndrome. The court focused on her best interests and said the decision had to be the 'least restrictive' of a person’s rights and freedom of action. It wouldn't allow the sterilisation.

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          Disability
          2003
          Europe

          People with mental illness must be able to challenge their detention

          Related European Convention Articles

          A detained man with an untreatable mental illness was refused discharge. His right to challenge the lawfulness of his detention was breached by delayed review and making him prove he should no longer be detained.

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            Disability
            2012
            Europe

            The police must protect vulnerable people from unnecessary detention

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            A man was detained by the police for four days when he urgently needed psychiatric care. He got damages as this was an affront to human dignity and amounted to degrading treatment.

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              Disability
              2015
              UK

              A family can receive damages if a council messes up care proceedings

              Related European Convention Articles

              The Council removed a 15 day old baby from its mother and put it into care. There were unnecessary delays and confusion over the plan for the baby's permanent home. It was finally placed with the mother's parents in Latvia aged 22 months.

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              TOP 50
              50 Cases
              2002
              UK

              Councils must provide adequate housing for disabled people

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              A severely disabled, incontient and wheelchair bound woman and her family of eight were housed inadequately. Their local council failed to rehouse. The High Court decided this showed a ‘singular lack of respect’ for her private and family life and awarded damages.

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                TOP 50
                50 Cases
                2002
                Europe

                Criminalising assisted suicide doesn’t breach human rights

                Related European Convention Articles

                A woman with motor neurone disease said the ban on assisted suicide breached her human rights.The Court didn't doubt the firmness of her belief, but the state must protect right to life. There was risk of abuse in the system if assisted suicide was legalised.

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                Disability
                2013
                UK

                Removing financial help for disabled people was unlawful

                Related European Convention Articles

                People receiving funding from the Independent Living Fund argued the its closure breached equality laws. The court agreed. There was no evidence that the government paid proper attention to the potentially grave impact on the disabled.

                Disability
                2010
                UK

                The law now protects disabled people in many areas

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                The Equality Act outlaws discrimination on grounds of disability, age, sex, race, religion and other characteristics, at work and when receiving services. It brought together all existing anti-discrimination law.

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                Disability
                2004
                UK

                Disabled people are treated equally at work (even if it needs more effort from employers)

                Related European Convention Articles

                A woman became virtually unable to walk and was dismissed from her job for incapacity. The court said reasonable adjustments must be made to cater for disabled people, even if that means treating the disabled person more favourably than a non-disabled person.

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                  Disability
                  1997
                  Europe

                  The state mustn’t detain psychiatric patients without proper safeguards

                  Related European Convention Articles

                  A man was detained in a maximum security psychiatric institution for four and a half years after he was found to no longer be suffering a mental illness. His right to liberty was breached because of inadequate safeguards against unreasonable delay.

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                    TOP 50
                    50 Cases
                    2004
                    Europe

                    Mental health detention needs proper safeguards

                    Related European Convention Articles

                    A man was admitted to a psychiatric hospital. He was was there informally, so wasn't protected by legal safeguards. This meant it was difficult for his family to get him home. This violated his right to liberty. The UK government responded by plugging the gap with a new law.

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                      TOP 50
                      50 Cases
                      2012
                      UK

                      Steven Neary was unlawfully detained in care

                      Related European Convention Articles

                      Steven Neary lived at home with his father. He had autism and learning disabilities. The council removed him for a year. His wishes should have been listened to and the council should have involved his father from the start. His human right to family life was breached.

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                      Disability
                      2005
                      Europe

                      Detention for mental health patients must be reviewed quickly

                      Related European Convention Articles

                      A woman was detained in hospital for over a year after the Mental Health Review Tribunal directed her conditional release. Her right to liberty entitled her to have the lawfulness of that detention determined by a court promptly.

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                        Disability
                        2012
                        UK

                        The High Court can always protect vulnerable adults when needed

                        Related European Convention Articles

                        A local authority wanted to protect two elderly adults. The Court of Appeal confirmed that the High Court can still interfere in cases to protect the vulnerable, even if they are also covered by mental health laws.

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                        Disability
                        2009
                        UK

                        The human rights of disabled people are protected by a 2009 Convention

                        Related European Convention Articles

                        The purpose of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.

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                          What Human Rights do for Disability
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