Fayed v United Kingdom: ECHR 6 Oct 1994

The Secretary of State had appointed inspectors to investigate and report on a company takeover. In their report, which was published, the inspectors made findings which were critical of and damaging to the applicants, who relied on the civil limb of article 6(1) to complain that they had been denied effective access to the courts to challenge the determination made against them.
Held: Department of Trade and Industry inspectors are investigators not adjudicators. The absence of a remedy in court, against their report, was not a breach of the Convention. The basic principle underlying article 6(1) is that ‘civil claims must be capable of being submitted to a judge for adjudication.’ ‘It is not always an easy matter to trace the dividing line between procedural and substantive limitations of a given entitlement under domestic law. It may sometimes be no more than a question of legislative technique whether the limitation is expressed in terms of the right or the remedy.’ and ‘The Inspectors did not adjudicate, either in form or in substance. They themselves said in their report that their findings would not be dispositive of anything. They did not make a legal determination as to criminal or civil liability concerning the Fayed brothers, and in particular concerning the latter’s civil right to honour and reputation. . . the object of the proceedings before the Inspectors was not to resolve any dispute (contestation) . . . In short, it cannot be said that the Inspectors’ inquiry ‘determined’ the applicants’ civil right to a good reputation, for the purposes of Article 6(1), or that its result was directly decisive for that right.’ The application failed.


Independent 06-Oct-1994, Times 11-Oct-1994, 17101/90, [1994] ECHR 27, (1994) 18 EHRR 393


Worldlii, Bailii


European Convention on Human Rights 6


Human Rights


See AlsoSaunders v United Kingdom ECHR 30-Sep-1994
Link between self-incrimination and presumption of innocence – use of compulsion. . .

Cited by:

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CitedBenkharbouche v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs SC 18-Oct-2017
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CitedReprieve and Others, Regina (on The Application of) v The Prime Minister Admn 30-Jun-2020
Standing may not be enough for JR
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Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Company, Human Rights

Updated: 07 December 2022; Ref: scu.80488