Article 2

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

Related cases

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.

  • DD v Dudley and Walsall NHS Trust [2014] MHLO 145 (PI) — The Claimant's partner committed suicide while being detained under s2 Mental Health Act. The Claimant and the deceased were not married but had been cohabiting for a number of years. The deceased was also the Claimant's full time carer as a result of the spinal fusion surgery the Claimant had undergone some years previously. The deceased had a history of mental illness which was depressive in nature. At the time of his death his mental health had deteriorated significantly. While detained under the Mental Health Act, the deceased was initially assessed as not having capacity nor insight into his illness; he was also becoming aggressive and a risk to himself and others. However, an assessment by the duty doctor the following night did not indicate that the deceased was a self-harm risk, nor were there any known acts/plans since admission. Later that evening the deceased killed himself. The Trust carried out a Serious Untoward Incident investigation which highlighted a number of ..→
  • 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).
  • Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust v RC [2014] EWHC 1136 (COP), [2014] MHLO 20 — A detained patient with a severe personality disorder was self-harming by cutting and had to be mechanically restrained to prevent this. (1) He had made an advance decision, apparently with capacity to do so, refusing blood transfusions because of his religious beliefs: the court ruled that this was valid and applicable, but only on an interim basis since the document did not state that it was signed by the maker and the witness in each other's presence. (2) The Responsible Clinician accepted that a blood transfusion would be medical treatment for mental disorder under s63 MHA 1983, and therefore the advance decision could be overridden; however, because the patient's wishes were religious, she did not want to impose treatment: the Trust therefore sought the protection of a court declaration that her decision was lawful. (3) The court was unwilling to make the declaration, without hearing both sides of the argument, because of the importance of the issues (including the right to ..→
  • Platts v Coroner for South Yorkshire (East District) [2008] EWHC 2502 (Admin) — Inquest into suicide of person with mental disorder - scope of inquest and Article 2 - whether former girlfriend was properly interested person
  • 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 — (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.
  • 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 ..→
  • 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.]

Cases from the new database whose pages contain a link to this page:

Case Sentence Summary
Gloucestershire City Council v AB [2022] EWCOP 42 Self-harm and Article 2 "On the afternoon of 29 September 2022, the Official Solicitor submitted that an operational duty had arisen under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights for the public bodies to take reasonable steps to protect AB from a real and immediate risk to her life. This conclusion was not simply in the context of the recent change in policy as to self-harm and restraint but also events in August 2022 where AB had consumed both noxious substances and medication which required her to attend hospital. The Official Solicitor submitted that: (i) the position put forward by the Care Co-ordinator that the placement could implement their own care plans was clinically, ethically and legally unsustainable; (ii) it was legally questionable as to whether the self-harm arrangement could be authorised by way of schedule A1; (iii) the current arrangements in respect of self-harm are so unplanned and risky that they ought not continue; (iv) exceptionally, the care and support arrangements should be authorised by the Court and not by the processes set out in Schedule A1 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. ... In light of the exceptional circumstances of this case, the public interest and to provide a sufficient element of public scrutiny considering the Official Solicitor’s submissions as to Article 2 of the ECHR, the Senior Judge has ordered that this order is published in this, anonymised, form."
R (Boyce) v HM Senior Coroner for Teesside and Hartlepool [2022] EWHC 107 (Admin) Inquest and care order (1) There was no procedural obligation to hold an Article 2 Middleton inquest into the death of the child who was under a care order in a residential children's home, as she was not in state detention: the difference between a child deprived of liberty in secure accommodation, and a child in care who is free to come and go (notwithstanding that if she simply left police would have been called to return her) and for whom there was no suggestion of secure accommodation, is of substance not merely of form. Obiter, even if the child had been detained it would not have been pursuant to any action by the state given the private nature of the accommodation. (2) The coroner was not wrong to conclude that on the available material there was no arguable breach of the Article 2 general/systems duty. (3) The argument that the coroner had been wrong to hold that the only material effect of the inquest not being an Article 2 inquest would be on the conclusions that might be returned, rather than upon the scope of the inquest, was also unsuccessful.
R (Lee) v HM Assistant Coroner for Sunderland [2019] EWHC 3227 (Admin) Article 2 inquests and community patients The coroner had decided that Article 2 was not engaged in this case, which involved the death of a community patient who was not subject to the MHA. (1) In relation to the operational duty, the coroner's decision had focussed almost exclusively on the question of responsibility rather than the "threefold factors of assumed responsibility, vulnerability and risk" set out in the Rabone case. The matter was remitted to the coroner for reconsideration. (2) The grounds which related to systemic failures were unarguable.
R (Maguire) v HM Senior Coroner for Blackpool and Fylde [2023] UKSC 20 Article 2 and inquests "Whether the death of a disabled woman who was deprived of her liberty engaged the state's obligation to protect life under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, therefore requiring an inquest jury to make findings regarding the circumstances by which the death occurred."
R (MN) v SSJ [2024] EWHC 333 (Admin) Article 2 and prison investigation "This claim concerns the requirements of Article 2 when there is an independent investigation into a near suicide by a prisoner which causes life changing injuries to that person. The Claimant seeks to challenge the Defendant's decision to leave important questions as to the procedure to be adopted for the independent investigator to recommend, rather than requiring public hearings with powers of compulsion from the outset."
R (Morahan) v HM Assistant Coroner for West London [2022] EWCA Civ 1410 Article 2 inquest The coroner was right to conclude that the patient's circumstances did not give rise to an operational duty under Article 2 upon the Trust to protect her from the risk of accidental death from the use of recreational drugs, and therefore was right to conclude that the parasitic procedural duty to hold a Middleton inquest did not arise. There was no error in the Divisional Court upholding that decision, and the appeal was dismissed.
R (Patton) v HM Assistant Coroner for Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire [2022] EWHC 1377 (Admin) Article 2 inquest The mother of a 16-year-old girl who had hanged herself while under the care of Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services challenged the coroner's decision that the Article 2 procedural investigative duty did not arise. The decision was quashed and remitted to the coroner for re-determination.
Savage v South Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust [2010] EWHC 865 (QB) Article 2 and detained patient (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.


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.