Hurst, Regina (on the Application of) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis v London Northern District Coroner: HL 28 Mar 2007

The claimant’s son had been stabbed to death. She challenged the refusal of the coroner to continue with the inquest with a view to examining the responsibility of any of the police in having failed to protect him.
Held: The question amounted to asking whether the coroner’s decision on the resumption should have been affected by any duty of the state to enquire as to the cause of the death. It was not clear that no responsibility could attach to the police. The attack was of the sort which the deceased had feared and for which he had sought help. There were real doubts that even an inquest could provide the sort of enquiry required under human rights law since the jury would be restricted in the verdicts it could return. The coroner’s appeal succeeded. (Lord Mance and Baroness Hale dissenting)
Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood said that the interpretative effect that Community law required was strictly confined to those case where, on their particular facts, the application of the domestic legislation in its ordinary meaning would produce a result incompatible with the relevant European Community legislation: ‘In cases where no European Community rights would be infringed, the domestic legislation is to be construed and applied in the ordinary way.’


Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, Baroness Hale of Richmond, Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood, Lord Mance


[2007] UKHL 13, [2007] 2 WLR 726, [2007] 2 All ER 1025, [2007] 2 AC 189




Coroners Act 1988 16(3), Human Rights Act 1998


England and Wales


CitedRegina v North Humberside and Scunthorpe Coroner ex parte Jamieson QBD 12-Jul-1993
A prisoner had hanged himself after being left unsupervised in a single cell. He was a known suicide risk, but the Coroner directed the jury not to return a verdict which included any reference to lack of care.
Held: A coroner was free not to . .
CitedMiddleton, Regina (on the Application of) v Coroner for the Western District of Somerset HL 11-Mar-2004
The deceased had committed suicide in prison. His family felt that the risk should have been known to the prison authorities, and that they had failed to guard against that risk. The coroner had requested an explanatory note from the jury.
CitedEmpress Car Company (Abertillery) Ltd v National Rivers Authority HL 22-Jan-1998
A diesel tank was in a yard which drained into a river. It was surrounded by a bund to contain spillage, but that protection was over ridden by an extension pipe from the tank to a drum outside the bund. Someone opened a tap on that pipe so that . .
CitedIn re McKerr CANI 10-Jan-2003
The appellant’s son and two others had been shot dead by police officers. There remained considerable controversy over the circumstances. The matter had been taken to the ECHR which had found the enquiry inadequate. The parties now disputed the . .
CitedCommissioner of Police for the Metropolis v Reeves (Joint Administratix of The Estate of Martin Lynch, Deceased) HL 15-Jul-1999
The deceased was a prisoner known to be at risk of committing suicide. Whilst in police custody he hanged himself in his prison cell. The Commissioner accepted that he was in breach of his duty of care to the deceased, but not that that breach was . .
CitedRegina v South London Coroner ex parte Thompson 8-Jul-1982
The court discussed the function of the coroner and his inquest.
Lord Lane CJ said: ‘The coroner’s task in a case such as this is a formidable one, and no one would dispute that; that is quite apart from the difficulties which inevitably arise . .
CitedRegina v Southwark Coroner, ex parte Hicks QBD 1987
The verdict of ‘lack of care’ at an inquest is to be used to indicate only the condition of the deceased at the time of death as a cause of death, and is not to be used as a way of attributing fault. The admission of documentary evidence by a . .
CitedWilson v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry; Wilson v First County Trust Ltd (No 2) HL 10-Jul-2003
The respondent appealed against a finding that the provision which made a loan agreement completely invalid for lack of compliance with the 1974 Act was itself invalid under the Human Rights Act since it deprived the respondent lender of its . .
Appeal fromHurst v Coroner Northern District of London Admn 4-Jul-2003
The deceased was killed by Mr Reid, a neighbour, who was convicted of his manslaughter.
Held: The court quashed the coroner’s refusal to accede to the application of the deceased’s father to resume an adjourned inquest into the death, at which . .
CitedRegina v Inner West London Coroner Ex Parte Dallaglio, and Ex Parte Lockwood Croft CA 16-Jun-1994
A coroner’s comment that the deceased’s relative was ‘unhinged’ displayed a bias which was irreparable. ‘The description ‘apparent bias’ traditionally given to this head of bias is not entirely apt, for if despite the appearance of bias the court is . .
CitedOsman v The United Kingdom ECHR 28-Oct-1998
Police’s Complete Immunity was Too Wide
(Grand Chamber) A male teacher developed an obsession with a male pupil. He changed his name by deed poll to the pupil’s surname. He was required to teach at another school. The pupil’s family’s property was subjected to numerous acts of vandalism, . .
CitedRegina v Walthamstow Coroner, Ex parte Rubenstein 19-Feb-1982
The 1988 Act was a consolidating Act. . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for Transport, Ex parte Factortame Ltd HL 18-May-1989
The applicants were companies owned largely by Spanish nationals operating fishing vessels within UK waters. The 1988 Act required them to re-register the vessels as British fishing vessels. The sought suspension of enforcement pending a reference . .
CitedMarleasing SA v La Comercial Internacional de Alimentacion SA ECJ 13-Nov-1990
Sympathetic construction of national legislation
LMA OVIEDO sought a declaration that the contracts setting up Commercial International were void (a nullity) since they had been drawn up in order to defraud creditors. Commercial International relied on an EC . .
CitedPearson v HM Coroner for Inner London North Admn 9-Mar-2005
Relatives of the deceased said that the inquest carried out by the coroner was inadequate in Jamieson terms and had not satisfied the human rights issues. Maurice Kay LJ rejected the argument saying: ‘One does not reach the stage of resort to . .
CitedGhaidan v Godin-Mendoza HL 21-Jun-2004
Same Sex Partner Entitled to tenancy Succession
The protected tenant had died. His same-sex partner sought a statutory inheritance of the tenancy.
Held: His appeal succeeded. The Fitzpatrick case referred to the position before the 1998 Act: ‘Discriminatory law undermines the rule of law . .
CitedImperial Chemical Industries v Colmer ECJ 16-Jul-1998
A member state was not allowed to impose a tax regime which discriminated against the subsidiaries of a company based in that state where they were based in other member states, but discrimination was allowed where the subsidiaries were based . .
CitedImperial Chemical Industries v Colmer ECJ 16-Jul-1998
A member state was not allowed to impose a tax regime which discriminated against the subsidiaries of a company based in that state where they were based in other member states, but discrimination was allowed where the subsidiaries were based . .
CitedRegina v Lyons, Parnes, Ronson, Saunders HL 15-Nov-2002
The defendants had been convicted on evidence obtained from them by inspectors with statutory powers to require answers on pain of conviction. Subsequently the law changed to find such activity an infringement of a defendant’s human rights.
CitedGingi v The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions CA 14-Nov-2001
It is possible that in some circumstances the same enactment may be construed differently according to whether it applies in circumstances covered by a directive. Arden LJ approved the following passage from Bennion: ‘It is legitimate for the . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for the Home Department ex parte Brind HL 7-Feb-1991
The Home Secretary had issued directives to the BBC and IBA prohibiting the broadcasting of speech by representatives of proscribed terrorist organisations. The applicant journalists challenged the legality of the directives on the ground that they . .
CitedRegina v Chief Immigration Officer, Heathrow Airport, Ex parte Salamat Bibi CA 1976
Lord Denning MR said that: ‘Treaties and declarations do not become part of our law until they are made law by Parliament’.
Iin relation to the application of broad Convention principles in the context of immigration powers, he said: ‘I . .
CitedFernandes v Secretary of State CA 1981
Article 8 of the Convention was relied upon by the appellant to resists his return.
Held: The Secretary of State in exercising his statutory powers was not obliged to take into account the provisions of the Convention, it not being part of the . .
CitedCREEDNZ Inc v The Governor General 1981
(New Zealand) The court looked at those considerations which a decision maker can choose for himself whether or not to take them into account. Cooke J said: ‘what has to be emphasised is that it is only when the statute expressly or impliedly . .
CitedIn Re Findlay, in re Hogben HL 1985
A public authority, and the Prison Service in particular, is free, within the limits of rationality, to decide on any policy as to how to exercise its discretions; it is entitled to change its policy from time to time for the future, and a person . .
CitedChundawadra v Immigration Appeal Tribunal CA 1988
Ratification of the European Convention on Human Rights did not create a justiciable legitimate expectation that the Convention’s provisions would be complied with. Slade LJ said there was no evidence of ‘any relevant express promise or regular . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for the Environment, Ex parte NALGO CA 1992
Neill LJ explained article 8 of the Convention in the light of Brind: ‘(1) Article 10 is not part of English domestic law. It is therefore not necessary for the Minister when exercising an administrative decision conferred on him by Parliament to . .
CitedRantzen v Mirror Group Newspapers (1986) Ltd and Others CA 1-Apr-1993
Four articles in the People all covered the same story about Esther Rantzen’s organisation, Childline, suggesting that the plaintiff had protected a teacher who had revealed to Childline abuses of children occurring at a school where he taught, by . .
CitedBolton Metropolitan Borough Council and Others v Secretary of State for Environment and Others CA 4-Aug-1994
A decision maker can take a preliminary view of a matter provided that he continues to keep an open mind. . .
CitedBolton Metropolitan District Council and Others v Secretary of State for the Environment and Others HL 25-May-1995
There had been an application in 1986 for planning permission for a shopping centre in Trafford. There were two public enquiries, followed, as public policy changed by further representations. The plaintiff complained that the eventual decision . .
CitedMcCann and Others v The United Kingdom ECHR 6-Oct-1995
Wrong assumptions made by police officers in the killing of terrorists amounted to a human rights breach, despite the existence of danger to the public of an imminent attack. Article 2(1) is ‘one of the most fundamental provisions in the . .
CitedRegina v Kansal (2) HL 29-Nov-2001
The prosecutor had lead and relied at trial on evidence obtained by compulsory questioning under the 1986 Act.
Held: In doing so the prosecutor was acting to give effect to section 433.
The decision in Lambert to disallow retrospective . .
CitedTakoushis, Regina (on the Application of) v HM Coroner for Inner North London Admn 16-Dec-2004
A patient suffering schizophrenia had been a voluntary patient. He was allowed to visit another unit within the hospital grounds, but then left altogether and was next found preparing to jump from Tower Bridge. He was taken by ambulance to Hospital . .
CitedRegina (Smeaton) v Secretary of State for Health and Others Admn 18-Apr-2002
The claimant challenged the Order as regards the prescription of the morning-after pill, asserting that the pill would cause miscarriages, and that therefore the use would be an offence under the 1861 Act.
Held: ‘SPUC’s case is that any . .
CitedA and Others, Regina (on the Application of) v Lord Saville of Newdigate and others CA 28-Jul-1999
Former soldiers who had been involved in the events in Londonderry in 1972, and were to be called to give evidence before a tribunal of inquiry, still had cause to fear from their names being given, and so were entitled to anonymity when giving such . .

Cited by:

CitedSmith, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Defence and Oxfordshire Assistant Deputy Coroner (Equality and Human Rights Commission intervening) SC 30-Jun-2010
The deceased soldier died of heat exhaustion whilst on active service in Iraq. It was said that he was owed a duty under human rights laws, and that any coroner’s inquest should be a fuller one to satisfy the state’s duty under Article 2.
CitedMcCaughey and Another, Re Application forJudicial Review SC 18-May-2011
The claimants sought a fuller inquest into deaths at the hands of the British Army in 1990 in Northern Ireland. On opening the inquest, the coroner had declined to undertake to hold a hearing compliant with article 2, and it had not made progress. . .
CitedParkwood Leisure Ltd v Alemo-Herron and Others SC 15-Jun-2011
The claimants had been employed by a local authority and then transferred to the respondents. They had had the benefit that their terms of employment were subject to collective agreement. The respondent was not part of the negotiation of later . .
CitedANS and Another v ML SC 11-Jul-2012
The mother opposed adoption proceedings, and argued that the provision in the 2007 Act, allowing a court to dispense with her consent, infringed her rights under Article 8 and was therefore made outwith the powers of the Scottish Parliament.
CitedNHS Manchester v Fecitt and Others CA 25-Oct-2011
The appellant challenged reversal by the EAT of a finding that it had not unlawfully victimised the respondents for the making of a protected disclosure. The claimant had reported a co-worker exaggerating his qualifications. After repeated . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Police, Coroners, Human Rights

Leading Case

Updated: 24 April 2022; Ref: scu.251022