What Human Rights do for Justice - RightsInfo

What Human Rights do for Justice

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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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    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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    Children
    2002
    Europe

    If child access is jeopardised, parents must have legal representation

    Related European Convention Articles

    Parents were denied legal representation at a hearing to free their child for adoption. This breached their rights to a fair hearing and respect for family life, as the importance and complexity meant they should have legal representation.

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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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        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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          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
          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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            TOP 50
            50 Cases
            2011
            Europe

            Even the Army can’t imprison without charge forever

            Related European Convention Articles

            Mr Al-Jedda was suspected of terrorism. He was detained by British forces in Iraq for over three years without charge or trial. This breached his human rights, even though it happened abroad.

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            TOP 50
            50 Cases
            1995
            Europe

            The security services can’t shoot to kill without good reason

            Related European Convention Articles

            The SAS shot dead IRA members in Gibraltar. They suspected the men of planning a terrorist attack. The court criticised the planning of the attack. There were other options apart from shooting to kill.

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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
              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
              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
                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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                Justice
                1997
                Europe

                Personal phone calls in the workplace can’t be intercepted

                Related European Convention Articles

                A police officer had her personal phone calls at work intercepted by her bosses. The European Court of Human Rights found this was a breach of her right to privacy. Shortly afterwards, the UK government criminalised intercepting phonecalls on a private network (this led to the 'phone hacking' scandal).

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                Justice
                2014
                UK

                Everyone deserves access to justice – that means legal aid where necessary

                Related European Convention Articles

                In this decision, the right to legal aid is discussed by the court. It is established that in some cases, in order for access to justice to be achieved, legal aid must be granted when there would be an obvious unfairness.

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                  TOP 50
                  50 Cases
                  1975
                  Europe

                  Prisoners must be able to contact their solicitors

                  Related European Convention Articles

                  A prisoner was stopped from writing a letter to his solicitor. He wanted to make make a libel claim against a prison guard. He won his case. Not being allowed to contact a solicitor was a violation of the right to fair trial.

                  Related links

                    Justice
                    1996
                    Europe

                    Being effectively defended by a lawyer is fundamental to a fair trial

                    Related European Convention Articles

                    John Murray had been arrested in Ireland on suspicion of terrorism. The case was primarily about the right to remain silent, but the court used it as an opportunity to reiterate that proper access to a lawyer is a fundamental element of the right to a fair trial.

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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.

                      Related links

                      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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                        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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                        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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                        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
                          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
                            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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                            What Human Rights do for Justice
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