What Human Rights do for Justice

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TOP 50
50 Cases
2012
Europe

“Whole life” sentences must be reviewable

Related European Convention Articles

Three murderers argued that their life sentences with no hope of a review and reduction was inhuman. The court agreed, but found that none of the prisoners' sentences should be reduced. The case was later overturned: the UK's whole life sentences don't breach human rights

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TOP 50
50 Cases
1996
Europe

You can’t be sent to a real risk of torture

Related European Convention Articles

The deportation of a Sikh separatist to the Punjab where he would more than likely face torture due to his political beliefs and actions, was prohibited. The Court emphasised that everyone is protected from torture, even suspected terrorists.

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    Disability
    2012
    Europe

    Mrs Reynolds got compensation after her son died in psychiatric care

    Related European Convention Articles

    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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      TOP 50
      50 Cases
      2005
      Europe

      You can’t ban every prisoner from voting

      Related European Convention Articles

      A blanket ban on prisoners voting, without regard to the gravity of the crime, or individual circumstances, breaches the fundamental principle of free and fair elections. And it undermines democracy.

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        Justice
        2013
        UK

        European Union law doesn’t give prisoners the right to vote

        Related European Convention Articles

        Two prisoners claimed that not having a right to vote was in conflict with their rights under European Union law (which is separate from European Convention law). The UK Supreme Court disagreed.

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        Justice
        2012
        UK

        Sole carer mothers in prison should usually get childcare leave

        Related European Convention Articles

        Mothers who are sole carers of their children and are within two years of their release date should sometimes be given child care leave, allowing them to spend up to three days a week with their children. The prison authorities had been acting too inflexibly.

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        Justice
        1996
        Europe

        Suspects mustn’t be forced to self-incriminate

        Related European Convention Articles

        During the investigation, the police tried to force the accused to either answer questions which would incriminate him or be in contempt of court. He won his case as this was held to be in breach of the right to a fair trial and evidence has to be sought without coercion.

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          Justice
          2012
          Europe

          You can’t be imprisoned indefinitely without a chance of getting out

          Related European Convention Articles

          An "indeterminate" prison sentence means people can be in prison forever unless they demonstrate they are safe for release. But that meant they needed to be given reasonable opportunity to prove they had become safe for release.

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          Health
          2009
          Europe

          Prison medical officers can’t interfere in private correspondence

          Related European Convention Articles

          The applicant served his prison sentence after suffering a brain haemorrhage and was required to attend hospital for every six months. He complained that the prison medical officer read his medical correspondence. The Court agreed this was an unjust interference with his right to correspondence.

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          Children
          1995
          Europe

          Parents can access info related to their child’s case

          Related European Convention Articles

          Parents of a child taken into care were not allowed to see documents referred to at a hearing to determine care provisions and access to their son. This breached their rights to a fair hearing and respect for family life.

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            Justice
            2014
            Europe

            Prosecuting a naked rambler doesn’t breach his human rights

            Related European Convention Articles

            Stephen Gough was attempting to walk naked from from one end of the country to the other. He was stopped by the authorities and prosecuted. The European Court said this wasn't a breach of his right to free expression.

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              TOP 50
              50 Cases
              1772
              UK

              Slavery is odious

              Related European Convention Articles

              A slave escaped then was imprisoned by his "master" on a ship bound for Jamaica, where he would be sold. Lord Mansfield ordered his release and said there was no support for slavery in English law: "The state of slavery...is so odious, that nothing can be suffered to support it". A key moment for the abolition movement.

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              TOP 50
              50 Cases
              2013
              UK

              Trafficked children are victims, not criminals

              Related European Convention Articles

              Victims of trafficking were forced into illegal work. A young boy was forced to cultivate cannabis, and a woman promised child-minding work was forced into prostitution. Their history of trafficking should have been taken into account.

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              Justice
              UK
              2013

              The media can disclose identity of triple murderer

              Related European Convention Articles

              A convicted child murderer challenged a decision to allow the media to report details of his offence. He argued that this resulted in threats and attacks which threatened his right to life, and freedom from degrading treatment. He lost as the public interest in knowing these facts outweighed his concerns.

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              Justice
              1990
              Europe

              Long-term prisoners must have their sentences regularly reviewed

              Related European Convention Articles

              Two prisoners with life sentences claimed that they should have the right to have their claim periodically reviewed. They won - after a certain period, the right to liberty ensures that a sentence must be periodically reviewed.

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                Justice
                2013
                UK

                A criminal defendant had to take her veil off to give evidence in court

                Related European Convention Articles

                A female defendant in a criminal case did not want to take off her face veil in front of men who were not in her family. The judge ruled she must take it off to give evidence and be identified.

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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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                  Justice
                  2012
                  Europe

                  The UK is not doing enough to combat domestic slavery

                  Related European Convention Articles

                  A Ugandan woman was forced to work, without breaks or time off, as a live-in carer for an elderly couple. She won her case as the UK had failed to provide proper protection against slavery and forced labour. The European Court criticised the fact that the UK does not have a specific law criminalising domestic slavery and human trafficking. This case led to the Modern Slavery Bill 2014-15.

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                  TOP 50
                  50 Cases
                  2001
                  UK

                  We’ve a right to private legal correspondence, even in jail

                  Related European Convention Articles

                  Prisoners have a right to private correspondence with their lawyers. Prison officers were reading prisoners' letters before them and without them being present. This breached their human right to privacy.

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                    Justice
                    2015
                    UK

                    Victims of domestic violence are entitled to police protection

                    Related European Convention Articles

                    A woman's family claimed against the police because they had not responded to her calls for help when threatened by her extremely violent and threatening ex-boyfriend. He killed her. They won their case.

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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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                      TOP 50
                      50 Cases
                      1978
                      Europe

                      ‘Deep interrogation’ techniques are inhuman and degrading

                      Related European Convention Articles

                      IRA members were arrested and detained in the UK. They were subjected to "stress techniques" such as wall-standing, hooding, sleep and food deprivation. This caused physical and psychiatric suffering. The European Court said this was torture and inhuman/degrading treatment.

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                        TOP 50
                        Justice
                        2004
                        UK

                        You can’t detain foreigners without charge forever

                        Related European Convention Articles

                        After 9/11, the government started imprisoning suspected terrorists indefinitely without a criminal charge or conviction. This breached the right to liberty. We ended this practice of detention without trial.

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                        Justice
                        2012
                        Europe

                        Abu Hamza and others can be extradited to the US

                        Related European Convention Articles

                        Abu Hamza and four others, wanted for terrorist activities in the US, can be deported regardless of their argument that doing so would mean they would likely receive extremely long sentences in "super-max" prisons which could amount to inhuman and degrading treatment.

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                        What Human Rights do for Justice
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