What Human Rights do for Disability

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Disability
2014
Europe

The withdrawal of night-time care breached Mrs McDonald’s human rights

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A woman with severely limited mobility complained that the withdrawal of night-time care breached with her right to respect for her private life. For a limited period, her right to respect for her private and family life was breached.

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Disability
2013
UK

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

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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
    2015
    UK

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

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    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
    2014
    UK

    Mentally incapacitated people have right to freedom

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    The living arrangements of three mentally incapacitated people were a breach of their right to liberty. "A gilded cage is still a cage", said the Supreme Court. Mentally incapacitated people had the same rights as everyone else

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    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
    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
    2001
    Europe

    A wheelchair is not an acceptable sleeping arrangement in custody

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    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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      Disability
      2014
      UK

      Closing adult day care centres without consultation is wrong

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      A disabled adult challenged the closure of an adult day care centre. The failure to consult users and relatives before the council decided to close it had been unlawful.

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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
        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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          TOP 50
          50 Cases
          2002
          Europe

          Criminalising assisted suicide doesn’t breach human rights

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          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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          TOP 50
          50 Cases
          2014
          UK

          Assisting suicide is still a crime, but watch this space

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          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
          2012
          UK

          Detaining immigrants with mental health problems can be degrading treatment

          Related European Convention Articles

          A man with a mental health disorder was detained in immigration removal centres for months, despite worsening mental health problems. The delay in getting him to a hospital was unlawful, and constituted degrading treatment.

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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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          Disability
          2012
          UK

          The High Court can always protect vulnerable adults when needed

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          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
          2003
          Europe

          People with mental illness must be able to challenge their detention

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          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
            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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            Disability
            2012
            Europe

            Mrs Reynolds got compensation after her son died in psychiatric care

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            A mother complained that she had no access to compensation for the grief and distress caused by the untimely death of her son whilst he was in psychiatric care. She was awarded damages for violation of the right to a remedy and the right to life.

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              Disability
              2013
              UK

              The social care system must be fair to disabled people

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              Getting employment and support allowance required a questionnaire and usually a face-to-face interview. This was causing major problems for people with mental health problems. The court said the system was unlawfully discriminating against them.

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                Disability
                1997
                Europe

                The state mustn’t detain psychiatric patients without proper safeguards

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                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

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                  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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                    Disability
                    2004
                    UK

                    Disabled people must be able to access public transport too

                    Related European Convention Articles

                    A wheelchair user wanted a train company to pay for a taxi to assist his train travel. The court said as long as it was reasonably practicable, disabled people should be given equivalent access to public transport.

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                      TOP 50
                      50 Cases
                      2002
                      UK

                      Councils must provide adequate housing for disabled people

                      Related European Convention Articles

                      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
                        UK
                        2001

                        You can’t be detained without medical proof of why

                        Related European Convention Articles

                        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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                          What Human Rights do for Disability
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