Article 3

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 Durham County Council [2012] EWHC 1053 (QB), [2012] MHLO 51 — The claimant was gate sectioned at Durham prison and detained under s2, then s3, in a Middlesborough hospital. He had complaints of false imprisonment and breaches of Article 3 and 8 relating to matters such as his being kept in seclusion, the lighting in his room, the number of people supervising his activities and a general lack of privacy. (1) He needed leave under s139 to bring civil proceedings against Durham County Council and Middlesborough City Council. This was refused: there was no realistic prospect of establishing illegality against the AMHPs who made the recommendations for s2 and s3 as AMHPs are (a) not required to choose or investigate the quality of the place of detention, (b) not required to research medical views earlier than those in the statutory recommendations, (c) not responsible for the medical or other regimes to which a detained person is subjected. (2) The AMHP who applied for s3 detention was employed by Middlesborough, so ..→
  • Dordevic v Croatia 41526/10 [2012] ECHR 1640, [2012] MHLO 136 — Harassment led to breaches of Article 3 and 8. [Detailed summary available via external link.]
  • Drew v UK 35679/03 [2006] ECHR 1172 — The requirement to pass an automatic life sentence for the second serious sexual or violent offence in the absence of exceptional circumstances, even for a mentally-disordered offender, did not breach Article 3 or 5.
  • Halilovic v Bosnia and Herzegovina 23968/05 [2009] ECHR 1933 — (1) The appellant's detention for 4 years 5 months was pursuant to an administrative decision, as opposed to a decision of the competent civil court as required by the amended domestic legislation, and so breached Article 5(1); compensation of €22,500 was awarded. (2) The Article 3 claim relating to conditions of detention failed.
  • KH (Afghanistan) v SSHD [2009] EWCA Civ 1354 — Save in very exceptional cases, withdrawal of medical treatment as a result of ordering return of a failed asylum-seeker would not constitute a violation of Article 3. In order for a case to be "very exceptional" it would have to be exceptional inside the class of person with mental illness without family support: perhaps a very old or very young person would qualify but hardly an ordinary adult. The appellant's was not such a case.
  • 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).
  • Khudobin v Russia 59696/00 [2006] ECHR 898 — Lack of medical treatment while detained violated Article 3; lack of relevant and sufficient reasons for pre-trial detention violated Article 5(3); undue delays in considering two separate applications for release violated Article 5(4); appeal court's failure to consider refusal of release breached Article 5(4); court's failure to consider entrapment defence violated Article 6(1); damages of €12,000 awarded
  • MS v UK 24527/08 [2012] ECHR 804, [2012] MHLO 46 — MS was taken to a police station under s136 having assaulted his aunt, but the FME assessed him as not fit for interview. The local psychiatric intensive care unit refused to admit him on the basis that he required a medium secure unit but, for various reasons, there was a delay in transferring him there. (1) The delay led to detention beyond the 72-hour limit of s136, but he did not make any claim under Article 5. (2) His claim was instead in negligence and breach of Article 3 and, as the case was summarily dismissed in the domestic proceedings, the Article 3 aspect of the case proceeded to the ECtHR. The ECtHR made no criticism of the initial detention under s136 in a police station, the attitude of the authorities or the material conditions (food and liquid) of detention. It did, however, conclude that - because MS was in a state of great vulnerability throughout his detention, as manifested by the abject condition to which he quickly descended inside his cell, and ..→
  • Magritz v Public Prosecutors Office Bremen [2011] EWHC 1861 (Admin) — In relation to the claimant's extradition, where the sentence was for him to be 'placed in a psychiatric hospital for an indefinite period of time': (1) section 25 of the Extradition Act 2003 (the purpose of which is to protect a requested person whose physical or mental health is so poor that the act of extradition would be oppressive or unjust) was not engaged; and (2) there would be no breach of Article 3, Article 5 or Article 8.
  • R (B) v Ashworth Hospital Authority [2005] UKHL 20 — A patient detained for treatment under the Mental Health Act 1983 could be treated compulsorily under s 63 of that Act for any disorder from which he suffered, and not only for the particular form of disorder from which he was classified as suffering under the application or order which authorised his detention.
  • R (Bary) v SSJ [2010] EWHC 587 (Admin) — The living and working regime for the inmates of the Detainee Unit at HMP Long Lartin (who are being held indefinitely pending extradition or deportation) was changed so that they were confined to the Unit, because of concerns that a new inmate might radicalise Muslims or plan/incite terrorism if allowed access to the main prison. The decision was challenged on the grounds that (1) it was irrational, unreasonable, disproportionate or made for illegitimate aims; (2) in breach of Article 3, it caused inhuman or degrading treatment for the two inmates with pre-existing mental illnesses; (3) in breach of Article 8, it unjustifiably removed them all from normal association and was an unjustifiable infringement of their right to the preservation of their mental stability in the broadest sense. The claim failed on all grounds.
  • R (HA (Nigeria)) v SSHD [2012] EWHC 979 (Admin), [2012] MHLO 41 — (1) The claimant's immigration detention (firstly 1/5/10-5/7/10, then 5/11/10-15/12/10) had been unlawful; (2) the time it took to transfer him to hospital (i.e. 1/5/10-5/7/10) was manifestly unreasonable and unlawful; (3) the policy introduced on 26/8/10 in relation to detention of people with mental illness was unlawful in breach of the defendant's duties under s71 Race Relations Act 1976 and s49A Disability Discrimination Act 1995. (4) The circumstances of the claimant's detention breached Article 3 during both periods.
  • R (McKinnon) v SSHA [2009] EWHC 2021 (Admin) — Because of the claimant's Asperger's Syndrome, extradition to the US would cause his mental health to suffer and would create risks including suicide; however, his case did not approach Article 3 severity: the SSHA's decision to order extradition, and the DPP's decision not to prosecute in the UK (although he had admitted certain offences), were lawful.
  • 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 (RW) v SSJ [2012] EWHC 2082 (Admin), [2012] MHLO 87 — The responsible clinician and tribunal were of the view in March 2011 that the patient required continued treatment in detention in hospital, and the tribunal recommended transfer from Broadmoor to a medium secure unit; in June the RC sought permission for trial leave to a MSU, with return to prison being the planned consequence if it were unsuccessful; trial leave in September was unsuccessful and, that month, the Secretary of State remitted the patient to prison on the RC's advice. (1) There had been new information since the tribunal which put a different complexion on the case, namely the unsuccessful trial leave, so the Secretary of State was entitled to take at face value the RC's new opinion that the patient did not require treatment in hospital for mental disorder. (2) It was not necessary for the Secretary of State to consider that lack of treatment in prison might breach Article 3 or require almost immediate re-transfer to hospital; the correct approach was to consider ..→
  • R (Razgar) v SSHD [2003] EWCA Civ 840 — The Secretary of State cannot lawfully certify that an immigration claim is manifestly unfounded unless the claim is bound to fail before an adjudicator; it it not enough that it is very likely to fail. All three claimants had already claimed asylum in safe European countries before claiming asylum again in the UK; the challenges to the Secretary of State's decisions were based on Article 3 and/or 8 and mental health consequences of removal.
  • R (Razgar) v SSHD [2004] UKHL 27 — The claimant was an Iraqi asylum seeker who had already sought asylum in Germany, but claimed that his return to Germany would adversely affect his mental health. (1) In principle, Article 8 rights can be engaged by the foreseeable consequences for health of removal from the UK pursuant to an immigration decision, even where such removal does not violate Article 3, if the facts relied on by the applicant are sufficiently strong. (2) On the facts, the Home Secretary's decision to certify the claim as manifestly unfounded was unlawful, as an adjudicator could have properly ruled in the claimant's favour.
  • R v Drew [2001] EWCA Crim 2861 — The requirement to pass an automatic life sentence for the second serious sexual or violent offence in the absence of exceptional circumstances, even for a mentally-disordered offender, did not breach Article 3 or 5.
  • R v Drew [2003] UKHL 25 — The requirement to pass an automatic life sentence for the second serious sexual or violent offence in the absence of exceptional circumstances, even for a mentally-disordered offender, did not breach Article 3 or 5.
  • 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).
  • Romanov v Russia 63993/00 [2005] ECHR 933 — (1) Violation of Article 3: The applicant's conditions of detention, in particular the severe overcrowding and its detrimental effect on the applicant's well being, combined with the length of the period during which the applicant was detained in such conditions, amounted to degrading treatment. (2) Violation of Article 5(3): the length of the proceedings (and detention on remand) was attributable neither to the complexity of the case nor to the conduct of the applicant but to the lack of diligence and expedition on the part of court. (3) Violation of Article 6(1) and (3)(c): In view of what was at stake for the applicant the District Court could not, if the trial was to be fair, determine his case without a direct assessment of the applicant's evidence, and the presence of the applicant's lawyer could not compensate for his absence.
  • Stanev v Bulgaria 36760/06 [2012] ECHR 46, [2012] MHLO 1 — (1) The applicant's placement in a social care home for people with mental disorders and his inability to obtain permission to leave the home led to breaches of Article 5(1), (4) and (5). (2) The living conditions in the home led to breaches of Article 3, and of Article 13 in conjunction with Article 3. (3) The lack of access to a court to seek release from partial guardianship breached Article 6(1). (4) No separate issue arose under Article 8 so it was unnecessary to examine that complaint. (5) Compensation of €15,000 was awarded.
  • Wilkinson v UK 14659/02 [2006] ECHR 1171 — The applicant's complaints were all declared inadmissible. He had complained that: (1) medical treatment against his will was a breach of the negative obligations under Articles 3 and 8; (2) the authorities failed in their positive obligation under Articles 3 and 8 to provide suitable safeguards against the imposition of treatment that would violate his rights, in particular that the authorities should have sought approval from a court before imposing treatment and that he should have been able to bring a challenge against the treatment, before it took place, in a court which would have been able to provide a suitable level of review; (3) the inability to have a determination of his ‘civil right’ to autonomy in a court that would have provided a review on the merits was a violation of Article 6; (4) the lack of effective remedy was a breach of Article 13; (5) discrimination on the basis of his status as a detained patient was a breach of ..→
  • Y (Sri Lanka) v SSHD [2009] EWCA Civ 362 — The appellants, who had been tortured as suspected terrorists or terrorist sympathisers before travelling from Sri Lanka to the UK, successfully resisted deportation on Article 3 grounds by claiming that they would commit suicide if returned (even though there was no objective foundation for any fear of ill-treatment).
  • ZH v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2012] EWHC 604 (QB), [2012] MHLO 25 — ZH, a severely autistic, epileptic 19-year-old man, became fixated with the water during a school visit to a swimming pool and would not move from the water's edge: the police were called; when an officer touched him on his back he jumped into the water, fully clothed; the police had him taken out of the pool and restrained him. (1) The police actions constituted assault, battery and false imprisonment. There was no need for the police to be aware of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 for the defence in ss5-6 to be made out, but on the facts it was not. When the MCA applies, the common law defence of necessity has no application, but had it applied it would have failed. (2) There was a breach of the DDA 1995 duty to make reasonable adjustments to the normal practice, policy or procedure, and the defence of justification failed. (3) The inhuman or degrading treatment breached Article 3. (4) Even treating purpose and intention as relevant, there was a ..→

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Article 3 – Prohibition of torture

No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.