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 (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934 (death was instantaneous); (d) the lack of adequate compensation would itself reduce access to the civil remedy, as the legal aid 'cost/benefit analysis' would not be met and legal fees were unaffordable. (3) It was not necessary to examine the same complaint under Article 2 alone. (4) €7000 compensation was awarded.

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