From Mental Health Law Online
ECHR section I:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 , 17 , 18
ECHR section II (Articles 19-51)
ECHR section III (Articles 52-59)
Protocols: 1, 4, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14
Any cases with a hyperlink to this legislation will automatically be added here. There may be other relevant cases without a hyperlink, so please check the mental health case law page.
- Edwards v UK 46477/99 (2002) ECHR 303 — Christopher Edwards was killed by a prison cellmate, Richard Linford; both suffered from schizophrenia. (1) The duty under Article 2 to protect life could extend to taking preventive operational measures to protect an individual against criminal acts of another, where the authorities knew (or ought to have known) of a real and immediate risk to the life of an identified individual. Information was available identifying Linford as posing such a risk. The failure to pass on this information, and the inadequate screening of Linford, amounted to a breach of Article 2. (2) No inquest was held, and the trial did not involve witness evidence. The private inquiry which was held (a) had no power to compel witnesses, and (b) was held in private, with the parents unable to participate to the extent necessary to safeguard their interests: Article 2 was breached in this respect. (3) There was no appropriate domestic means of determining whether the authorities failed to protect the right to ..→
- Francis v UK 3346/02 (2003) ECHR 707 — The claimant's mentally-ill son had discharged himself from hospital and committed suicide; her Article 2 and 6 complaints were dismissed.
- Keenan v UK 27229/95 (2001) ECHR 242 — The applicant's son had committed suicide while serving a prison sentence. Her Article 2 complaint was rejected (the authorities responded in a reasonable way to his conduct, placing him in hospital care and under watch when he evinced suicidal tendencies) but her Article 3 complaint was accepted (lack of effective monitoring and informed psychiatric input into his assessment and treatment, together with the imposition of punishments including seven days' segregation).
- R (P) v HM Coroner for the District of Avon (2009) EWCA Civ 1367 — In this inquest to which Article 2 applied (suicide in prison) the Deputy Coroner misdirected the jury because she did not properly explain to them that, if they returned a verdict of suicide or accident, they could also append a narrative about the circumstances of the accident. However, in the circumstances, the verdict was not quashed.
- R (P) v SSJ (2009) EWCA Civ 701 — The refusal of the SSJ to hold an inquiry into P's detention in YOI Feltham was lawful: (1) Article 2 is only engaged where there is a "real and immediate" risk to life; the risk from P's self harming, while real, was not immediate. (2) There was no arguable breach of Article 3 in the delay in transfer to hospital. Had there been an arguable Article 3 breach: in general, an inquiry would not have been mandatory; in this particular case, it would not have been necessary as the relevant facts were known.
- R (Smith) v Secretary of State for Defence (2009) EWCA Civ 441 — (1) A British soldier who is on military service in Iraq is subject to the jurisdiction of the UK within the meaning of Article 1 of the Convention, so as to benefit from the rights guaranteed by the HRA while operating in Iraq, and not only when he is on a British military base or in a British hospital. (2) The inquest into the claimant's death must confirm with Article 2 standards in the scope of the investigation and nature of the verdict.
- R (Takoushis) v HM Coroner for Inner North London (2005) EWCA Civ 1440 — Where a person dies as a result of what is arguably medical negligence in an NHS hospital, the state must have a system which provides for the practical and effective investigation of the facts and for the determination of civil liability. Unlike in the cases of death in custody, the system does not have to provide for an investigation initiated by the state but may include such an investigation. The present system complied with Article 2. Inquest verdict quashed and new inquest ordered.
- R (Turner) v Southampton City Council (2009) EWCA Civ 1290 — Unsuccessful challenge to the closure of care homes on Article 2 grounds: the test of a "real and immediate risk" is one that is not readily satisfied, in other words the threshold is high; the evidence in this case fell far short of the threshold. Interesting post-script to judgment, critical of solicitor and her repeated similar claims.
- Rabone v Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust (2012) UKSC 2, (2012) MHLO 6 — (1) The operational obligation under Article 2 can in principle be owed to a hospital patient who is mentally ill, but who is not detained under the MHA. (2) There was a 'real and immediate' risk to the patient's life of which the Trust knew or ought to have known and which it failed to take reasonable steps to avoid, so the obligation was breached. (3) The patient's parents were 'victims' within the meaning of Article 34 of the Convention. (4) They had not lost their victim status by settling a negligence claim, as (although it had in substance acknowledged its breach) the Trust had not made adequate redress. (5) The one-year limitation period in s7(5) HRA 1998 was extended becuase the extension was short, the Trust suffered no prejudice, the claimants acted reasonably in delaying, and there was a good claim. (6) The Court of Appeal's assessment of damages was upheld, and £5000 was awarded to each parent.
- Rabone v Pennine Care NHS Trust (2009) EWHC 1827 (QB) — The Article 2 "Osman" operational obligation to protect life applied to detained patients, but not to the claimant who was an informal patient on leave from the hospital at the time she committed suicide. [Caution.]
- Rabone v Pennine Care NHS Trust (2010) EWCA Civ 698 — Health trusts do not have the Article 2 operational obligation to voluntary patients in hospital, who are suffering from physical or mental illness, even where there is a "real and immediate" risk of death. [Caution.]
- Renolde v France 5608/05 (2008) ECHR 1085 — The authorities failed to comply with their positive obligation to protect the detainee's right to life, in violation of Article 2, partly because they did not monitor his compliance with anti-psychotic medication. A penalty of 45 days' detention in a punishment cell breached Article 3 (inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment).
- Reynolds v UK 2694/08 (2012) ECHR 437, (2012) MHLO 30 — (1) A voluntary in-patient killed himself by breaking and jumping out of a sixth-floor window: the court held that there was an arguable claim that an operational duty under Article 2 arose to take reasonable steps to protect him from a real and immediate risk of suicide and that that duty was not fulfilled. (2) There were no domestic civil proceedings available to his mother to establish any liability and compensation due as regards the non-pecuniary damage suffered by her on her son’s death, and therefore there was a violation of Article 13 in conjunction with Article 2. In particular: (a) neither the inquest nor the internal inquiry were an effective remedy; (b) the HRA claim under Article 2 was struck out by the county court because of domestic case law at that time which required gross negligence; (c) the mother had no prospect of obtaining adequate compensation for non-pecuniary damage under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 (she was not a dependent) or the Law Reform ..→
- Savage v South Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (2010) EWHC 865 (QB) — (1) The Trust had breached Article 2 as (a) they had the requisite knowledge, actual or constructive, of a real and immediate risk to the patient's life from self harm, and (b) failed to do all that could reasonably have been expected of it to avoid or prevent that risk. (2) The patient's daugher was eligible to bring the claim as a victim under s7 HRA 1998. (3) Compensation of £10,000 was awarded.
- Selwood v Durham CC (2011) Newcastle-upon-Tyne county court 25/2/11 — The claimant social worker was not informed of a patient's threats to kill her and was subsequently stabbed by him; she sued the local authority and relevant NHS Trusts in negligence or breach of statutory duty and alternatively alleged a breach of Article 2. The Trusts' application for strike out was successful. [Caution.]
Article 2 – Right to life
1. Everyone's right to life shall be protected by law. No one shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a court following his conviction of a crime for which this penalty is provided by law.
2. Deprivation of life shall not be regarded as inflicted in contravention of this article when it results from the use of force which is no more than absolutely necessary:
- a. in defence of any person from unlawful violence;
- b. in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of a person lawfully detained;
- c. in action lawfully taken for the purpose of quelling a riot or insurrection.