In re De Wilde, Ooms and Versyp v Belgium (No 1): ECHR 18 Nov 1970

The applicants had been detained under Belgian vagrancy laws. An earlier decision had found that their rights had been infringed because of the lack of effective means for them to challenge their detention. The Belgian government said that the applicants had not exhausted their national remedies.
Held: The complaints were admissible. Later changes in Belgian law could not change the situation which had applied at the time, but could provide for later compensation, and therefore the claims were rejected. Article 5.4 did not entitle a person detained to take proceedings to challenge detention when that detention was pursuant to an order of a court.
‘At first sight, the wording of Article 5(4) might make one think that it guarantees the right of the detainee always to have supervised by a court the lawfulness of a previous decision which has deprived him of his liberty . . Where the decision depriving a person of his liberty is one taken by an administrative body, there is no doubt that Article 5(4) obliges the contracting states to make available to the person detained the right to recourse to a court; there is nothing to indicate that the same applies when the decision is made by a court at the close of judicial proceedings. In the latter case, the supervision required by Article 5 (4) is incorporated in the decision, for example, where a sentence of imprisonment is pronounced after ‘conviction by a competent court’ (Article 5(1) (a) of the Convention).’
Sir Humphrey Waldock, P, Mm. G. Balladore Pallieri R. Cassin A. E. V. Holmback A. Verdross H. Rolin E. Rodenbourg A. N. C. Ross T. Wold H. Mosler M. Zekia A. Favre J. Cremona G. Wiarda S. Sigurjonsson
2832/66, 2899/66, 2835/66, (1970) 1 EHRR 373, [1970] ECHR 2
Worldlii, Bailii
European Convention on Human Rights
Human Rights
Cited by:
CitedP, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department Admn 11-Dec-2003
The applicant was a discretionary life prisoner compulsorily detained in a mental hospital. His tariff had now expired. If not detained under the 1983 Act he would now be entitled to a review. He argued that there should be a joint hearing.
CitedRegina v Parole Board ex parte Smith, Regina v Parole Board ex parte West (Conjoined Appeals) HL 27-Jan-2005
Each defendant challenged the way he had been treated on revocation of his parole licence, saying he should have been given the opportunity to make oral representations.
Held: The prisoners’ appeals were allowed.
Lord Bingham stated: . .
See AlsoDe Wilde, Ooms and Versyp v Belgium ECHR 18-Jun-1971
ECHR Judgment (Just satisfaction) Preliminary objection rejected (non-exhaustion); Pecuniary damage – claim rejected; Non-pecuniary damage – finding of violation sufficient 2832/66; 2835/66; 2899/66
CitedBlack, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Justice HL 21-Jan-2009
The appellant complained that the system for considering the release of a life prisoner did not comply with the Convention when the decision was made by the Secretary of State and not by the Parole Board, or the court. The Board had recommended his . .
CitedBlack, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Justice CA 15-Apr-2008
The prisoner complained of the power given to the defendant to block the early release of prisoners sentenced between certain dates for serious offences, saying that such a decision was for the courts only.
Held: The provision was incompatible . .
See AlsoCases Of De Wilde, Ooms And Versyp (‘Vagrancy’) v Belgium (Article 50) ECHR 10-Mar-1972
. .
CitedWhiston, Regina (on The Application of) SC 2-Jul-2014
The claimant, having been released from prison on licence, objected to the procedure whereby his licence was revoked with no means for him to challenge that decision.
Held: The appeal was dismissed. Article 5(4) did not apply to the particular . .

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Updated: 06 January 2021; Ref: scu.164870