European Convention on Human Rights
Article 2: Right to life - Under Article 2, 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. In England and Wales, as with many other countries both in and beyond Europe, the right to life is protected. In a very obvious sense, this right is upheld whenever governments abolish capital punishment, or where they enact policies designed to prevent lives from being ended without lawful excuse. As with all laws, the rights of any individual must be balanced against the rights of others. Where possible, the right to life should be preserved for all parties. However, in practise this may not always be the case. For example in the case of Re A, a pair of conjoined twins needed to be separated in order to preserve the life of the stronger twin. Without separation they would both die, however, the operation to separate them would certainly cause the weaker twin to die. After a lengthy court case, it was decided that the separation should take place although this was met with fierce opposition, both in some of the media and particularly from some religious groups.
Article 5: Right to liberty and security of person - Under Article 5, everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be deprived of his liberty save in some cases. These include the lawful detention of a person after conviction by a competent court, the lawful arrest or detention of a person, when it is reasonably considered necessary to prevent someone from committing an offence or fleeing after having done so, for the prevention of the spreading of infectious diseases, of persons of unsound mind, alcoholics or drug addicts or vagrants and to prevent an unauthorised entry into the country or of a person against whom action is being taken with a view to deportation or extradition. In 2001, following the terrorist attacks in New York, The Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001 was passed. Part 4 of the Act provided that any foreign national who was suspected of being a terrorist (but not convicted or even charged) could be indefinitely detained without charge or trial if he or she could not be deported. However, the UK Supreme Court (then the House of Lords) ruled that the detention of foreign nationals without charge and for an indefinite period was in breach of Article 5 and was discriminatory, on the bass that it only applied to foreigners and not to domestic terrorists. The law was repealed in response to the House of Lords’ declaration of incompatibility.
Article 8: Right to respect for private and family life, his home and for his correspondence - Under Article 8, everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence. However, this should be balanced against the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. Rights regarding Article 8 include respect for one’s sexuality. This was breached by British Armed Forces, asking for details regarding sexuality of applicants. Rights also include the unlawful storing and sharing of personal data, or unlawful surveillance by the state and the right to not be physically interfered with. Family has a wide interpretation and can include romantic, married, non-married, living with grandparents and siblings. Article 8 is often cited as a defence against deportation or where children may be taken into care. This was illustrated by a case against Poole Council, who had unlawfully spied upon a family, whom they suspected (wrongly) of living outside the catchment area of the school that their children attended. Poole Council were found to have breached Article 8 when they had stationed employees outside the home to covertly spy on the family and had even tailed them on the way to school.
Article 10: Right to freedom of expression - Under Article 10, everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. It protects the right to communicate and express yourself in any medium, including in words, pictures and actions. It’s often used to defend press freedom and protect journalists’ sources. It must, however be balanced against other considerations. These can include national security, prevention of crime and disorder, prevention of the disclosure of confidential information and other rights upheld by the ECHR. In 2013, David Miranda, a journalist involving the Edward Snowden case, was detained by police for nine hours at Heathrow Airport. He was questioned without access to a lawyer and was eventually released only when the time had come to either charge or release him. Since they had no evidence on which to base a charge, it was decided later that their detention of Miranda had breached Article 10, even though the police had used Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, a sweeping power that enabled detention without suspicion. The Court of Appeal later ruled that the schedule itself was in breach of Article 10 as it had no provisions for the protection of journalists exercising their duties and Miranda was simply exercising his right as a journalist to publish a story of public interest.
Article 11: Right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others - Under Article 11, everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests. This right is closely related to freedom of expression and allows for people to form peaceful demonstrations, go on marches and meet up with other like-minded individuals, without interference from the state. In fact, the state must take reasonable steps to allow any demonstration to go ahead, even if they disagree with reasons for the demonstration. Violent demonstrations, however, are not protected by Article 11. Any limitation of Article 11 must be lawful, necessary and proportionate and should be in the interests of national security, prevention of crime and disorder, protection of health or morals and to protect other rights and freedoms.
- In the case of Re A, a pair of conjoined twins needed to be ______ in order to preserve the life of the stronger twin?
- The right to liberty and security of person is defined under which Article of the European Convention on Human Rights?
- The British Armed Forces breached Article 8, when they asked for details regarding _______ of applicants?
- In 2013, David __________ was detained by police for nine hours at Heathrow Airport?
- What Article was breached when the journalist was detained?
- Are violent demonstrations protected by Article 11?