Magee v United Kingdom: ECHR 6 Jun 2000

The denial of access to a solicitor for a suspect before interrogation was a breach of the right to a fair hearing. The breach was so fundamental as to irretrievably prejudice the rights of a defendant. The article might be expressed to refer to rights at trial, but the exercise of such rights derived from pre-trial activities. The refusal of the court to draw adverse inferences did not repair the damage to his right to a fair trial.
the Court stated: ‘in the constituent parts of the United Kingdom there is not always a uniform approach to legislation in particular areas. Whether or not an individual can assert a right derived from legislation may accordingly depend on the geographical reach of the legislation at issue and the individual’s location at the time. For the Court, in so far as there exists a difference in treatment of detained suspects under the [Northern Irish legislation] and the legislation of England and Wales on the matters referred to by the applicant, that difference is not to be explained in terms of personal characteristics, such as national origin or association with a national minority, but on the geographical location where the individual is arrested and detained. This permits legislation to take account of regional differences and characteristics of an objective and reasonable nature. In the present case, such a difference does not amount to discriminatory treatment within the meaning of article 14 of the Convention.’


J-P Costa P


Times 20-Jun-2000, 28135/95, [2000] ECHR 216, (2001) 31 EHRR 35




European Convention on Human Rights Art 6


Human Rights


CitedMagee v The United Kingdom ECHR 6-Jun-2000
Hudoc Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) Violation of Art. 6-1+6-3-c; No violation of Art. 14+6; Pecuniary damage – finding of violation sufficient; Non-pecuniary damage – finding of violation sufficient; . .

Cited by:

CitedAmbrose v Harris, Procurator Fiscal, Oban, etc SC 6-Oct-2011
(Scotland) The appellant had variously been convicted in reliance on evidence gathered at different stages before arrest, but in each case without being informed of any right to see a solicitor. The court was asked, as a devolution issue, at what . .
CitedA and B, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Health SC 14-Jun-2017
The court was asked: ‘Was it unlawful for the Secretary of State for Health, the respondent, who had power to make provisions for the functioning of the National Health Service in England, to have failed to make a provision which would have enabled . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights, Criminal Practice

Updated: 13 August 2022; Ref: scu.83296