McElhinney v Ireland; Al-Adsani v United Kingdom; Fogarty v United Kingdom: ECHR 21 Nov 2001

Grand Chamber – The first applicant said he had been injured by a shot fired by a British soldier who had been carried for two miles into the Republic of Ireland, clinging to the applicant’s vehicle following an incident at a checkpoint.
Held: Rules granting the State immunities, did not infringe the applicants’ right to a fair trial under article 6. In each case the applicant sought to pursue an action against a government, and the courts had accepted pleas of state immunity. Sovereign immunity is a concept of international law, under which one state was not subject to the jurisdiction of another.
Held: The Convention should, so far as possible, be interpreted in harmony with other rules of international law. ‘The Convention, including Article 6, cannot be interpreted in a vacuum. The Court must be mindful of the Convention’s special character as a human rights treaty, and it must also take the relevant rules of international law into account. The Convention should so far as possible be interpreted in harmony with other rules of international law of which it forms part, including those relating to the grant of State immunity.’ The law against torture has attained the state of jus cogens. In the Soering judgment: ‘it was emphasised, however, that in so far as any liability under the Convention might be incurred in such circumstances it would be incurred by the expelling Contracting State by reason of its having taken action which had as a direct consequence the exposure of an individual to proscribed ill-treatment.’
The claimant Al-Adsani, said that he had been tortured in Kuwait during the war against Iraq. He complained that the UK courts had given him no remedy.
The claimant Fogarty had applied unsuccessfully for posts at the US Embassy in London. She issued proceedings claiming that she was the victim of sex discrimination. The US Government claimed state immunity under section 16(1)(a) of the State Immunity Act 1978. She contended that this constituted a violation of article 6(1) of the ECHR taken together with article 14.
Held: Her claim was rejected. The article 6(1) right of access to court is not absolute. The court considered whether the limitation of the right by state immunity pursued a legitimate aim, and held that the grant of sovereign immunity to a state in civil proceedings pursues the legitimate aim ‘of complying with international law to promote comity and good relations between States through respect of another State’s sovereignty’. Compliance with a state’s international law obligations is conclusive on the issue of proportionality.
Wildhaber, Palm, Rozakis, Ferrari Bravo, Jorundsson, Caflisch, Loucaides, Cabral Barreto, Jungwiert, N Bratza, Zupancic, Vajic, Pellonpaa, Tsatsa-Nikolovska, Levits, Kovler and Kearns JJ
Times 26-Nov-2001, 37112/97, 35763/97, 31253/96, 5763/97, [2001] 34 EHRR 302, [2001] ECHR 752, [2001] ECHR 753, [2001] ECHR 754, (2002) 34 EHRR 11, 35763/97, [2001] ECHR 761, [2001] ECHR 762, [2001] ECHR 763, (2001) 34 EHRR 273, 12 BHRC 88, (2002) 34 EHRR 12
Worldlii, Worldlii, Worldlii, Bailii, Bailii, Bailii
European Convention on Human Rights Art 6, State Immunity Act 1978
Human Rights
Citing:
Appeal fromAl-Adsani v Government of Kuwait and Others (No 2) CA 29-Mar-1996
The claimant alleged that he had suffered torture in a security prison in Kuwait, and he obtained leave to serve out of the jurisdiction on the Government of Kuwait, and on three individuals, one of whom at least was served, on the ground that he . .
CitedSoering v The United Kingdom ECHR 7-Jul-1989
(Plenary Court) The applicant was held in prison in the UK, pending extradition to the US to face allegations of murder, for which he faced the risk of the death sentence, which would be unlawful in the UK. If extradited, a representation would be . .

Cited by:
CitedMatthews v Ministry of Defence HL 13-Feb-2003
The claimant sought damages against the Crown, having suffered asbestosis whilst in the armed forces. He challenged the denial to him of a right of action by the 1947 Act.
Held: Human rights law did not create civil rights, but rather voided . .
CitedMohamed Moneim Al-Fayed for Judicial Review of A Decision of the Lord Advocate To Refuse To Instruct A Public Inquiry Into the Death of Emad Al-Fayed OHCS 12-Mar-2004
The claimant sought judicial review of the minister’s decision not to order a judicial public investigation of the death of his son in a car crash in Paris.
Held: The primary obligation to undertake an enquiry fell upon France. The obligation . .
Appealed toAl-Adsani v Government of Kuwait and Others (No 2) CA 29-Mar-1996
The claimant alleged that he had suffered torture in a security prison in Kuwait, and he obtained leave to serve out of the jurisdiction on the Government of Kuwait, and on three individuals, one of whom at least was served, on the ground that he . .
CitedA, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, Mahmoud Abu Rideh Jamal Ajouaou v Secretary of State for the Home Department CA 11-Aug-2004
The claimants had each been detained without trial for more than two years, being held as suspected terrorists. They were free leave to return to their own countries, but they feared for their lives if returned. They complained that the evidence . .
CitedA, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, Mahmoud Abu Rideh Jamal Ajouaou v Secretary of State for the Home Department CA 11-Aug-2004
The claimants had each been detained without trial for more than two years, being held as suspected terrorists. They were free leave to return to their own countries, but they feared for their lives if returned. They complained that the evidence . .
CitedJones v Ministry of Interior Al-Mamlaka Al-Arabiya As Saudiya Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) and Another CA 28-Oct-2004
The claimants sought damages alleging torture by the respondent whilst held in custody in Saudi Arabia.
Held: Although the state enjoyed freedom from action, where the acts were ones of torture, and action could proceed against state officials . .
CitedRegina on the Application of B and others v Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office CA 18-Oct-2004
The applicant children had been detained in immigration camps in Australia. They escaped and sought refuge in the British High Commission in Melbourne and claimed diplomatic asylum. They claimed in damages after being returned to the authorities in . .
CitedPolanski v Conde Nast Publications Ltd HL 10-Feb-2005
The claimant wished to pursue his claim for defamation against the defendant, but was reluctant to return to the UK to give evidence, fearing arrest and extradition to the US. He appealed refusal of permission to be interviewed on video tape. Held . .
CitedAziz v Republic of Yemen CA 17-Jun-2005
The claimant had made a claim for unfair dismissal. The defendant state had filed a defence instead of claiming state immunity. It then sought to assert such immunity. The claimant said the state had waived its immunity.
Held: Section 2(7) of . .
CitedA and others v Secretary of State for the Home Department (No 2) HL 8-Dec-2005
The applicants had been detained following the issue of certificates issued by the respondent that they posed a terrorist threat. They challenged the decisions of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission saying that evidence underlying the . .
CitedRegina (on the Application of Mazin Mumaa Galteh Al-Skeini and Others) v The Secretary of State for Defence CA 21-Dec-2005
The claimants were dependants of Iraqi nationals killed in Iraq.
Held: The Military Police were operating when Britain was an occupying power. The question in each case was whether the Human Rights Act applied to the acts of the defendant. The . .
CitedAl-Jedda v Secretary of State for Defence CA 29-Mar-2006
The applicant had dual Iraqi and British nationality. He was detained by British Forces in Iraq under suspicion of terrorism, and interned.
Held: His appeal failed. The UN resolution took priority over the European Convention on Human Rights . .
CitedJones v Ministry of Interior for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and others HL 14-Jun-2006
The claimants said that they had been tortured by Saudi police when arrested on false charges. They sought damages, and appealed against an order denying jurisdiction over the defendants. They said that the allegation of torture allowed an exception . .
CitedHolland v Lampen-Wolfe HL 20-Jul-2000
The US established a base at Menwith Hill in Yorkshire, and provided educational services through its staff to staff families. The claimant a teacher employed at the base alleged that a report on her was defamatory. The defendant relied on state . .
CitedAziz v Aziz and others CA 11-Jul-2007
The claimant sought return of recordings and of money paid to the defendant through an alleged fraud or threats. She was the former wife of the Sultan of Brunei and head of state, who now sought an order requiring the court to protect his identity . .
CitedMohamed, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (No 1) Admn 21-Aug-2008
The claimant had been detained by the US in Guantanamo Bay suspected of terrorist involvement. He sought to support his defence documents from the respondent which showed that the evidence to be relied on in the US courts had been obtained by . .
CitedReyes and Another v Al-Malki and Another CA 5-Feb-2015
The claimants wished to make employment law claims alleging, inter alia, that they had suffered racial discrimination and harassment, and had been paid less than the national minimum wage aganst the respondents. They had been assessed as having been . .
CitedBelhaj and Another v Straw and Others SC 17-Jan-2017
The claimant alleged complicity by the defendant, (now former) Foreign Secretary, in his mistreatment by the US while held in Libya. He also alleged involvement in his unlawful abduction and removal to Libya, from which had had fled for political . .
CitedBenkharbouche v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs SC 18-Oct-2017
The court was asked as to the compatibility of provisions in the 1978 Act with the human rights of the appellant. The claimants, Moroccan nationals were employed as domestic staff in embassies in London. They alleged both race discrimination and . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 06 March 2021; Ref: scu.166855