Oneryildiz v Turkey: ECHR 30 Nov 2004

(Grand Chamber) The applicant had lived with his family in a slum bordering on a municipal household refuse tip. A methane explosion at the tip resulted in a landslide which engulfed the applicant’s house killing his close relatives.
Held: The court discussed the duty of investigation falling on a public authority after a death, and drew a clear distinction between medical negligence and custody cases: ‘the Court has held that if the infringement of the right to life or to physical integrity is not caused intentionally, the positive obligation to set up an ‘effective judicial system’ does not necessarily require criminal proceedings to be brought in every case and may be satisfied if civil, administrative or even disciplinary remedies were available to the victims. However, in areas such as that in issue in the instant case, the applicable principles are rather to be found in those which the Court has already had occasion to develop in relation notably to the use of lethal force, principles which lend themselves to application in other categories of cases. In this connection, it should be pointed out that in cases of homicide the interpretation of Article 2 as entailing an obligation to conduct an official investigation is justified not only because any allegations of such an offence normally give rise to criminal liability, but also because often, in practice, the true circumstances of the death are, or may be, largely confined within the knowledge of State officials or authorities. In the Court’s view, such considerations are indisputably valid in the context of dangerous activities, when lives have been lost as a result of events occurring under the responsibility of the public authorities, which are often the only entities to have sufficient relevant knowledge to identify and establish the complex phenomena that might have caused such incidents.’


[2004] ECHR 657, (2005) 41 EHRR 20, 48939/99




European Convention on Human Rights 2


Human Rights


See AlsoOneryildiz v Turkey ECHR 18-Jun-2002
(Grand Chamber) The applicant had lived with his family in a slum bordering on a municipal house-hold refuse tip. A methane explosion at the tip resulted in a landslide which engulfed the applicant’s house, killing his close relatives. The applicant . .

Cited by:

CitedKhan, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Health CA 10-Oct-2003
The claimant’s child had died as a result of negligence in hospital. The parents had been told the result of police investigation and decision not to prosecute, and the hospital’s own investigation, but had not been sufficiently involved. There . .
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.
CitedD, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department Admn 28-Apr-2005
D was undergoing trial for offences and was held in prison. He self-harmed repeatedly, and was recorded to require extra vigilance. He attempted to hang himself. Prison staff saved his life, but he was left paraplegic, and was then detained under . .
CitedD, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Inquest Intervening) CA 28-Feb-2006
The respondent appealed from orders made as to the conduct of an investigation into an attempted suicide in prison. The judge had severely criticised the appellant’s treatment of the case.
Held: The appeal failed. The court recited the . .
CitedClayton v Clayton CA 27-Jun-2006
The family had been through protracted family law proceedings and had been subject to orders restricting identification. The father now wanted to discuss his experiences and to campaign. He could not do so without his child being identified.
CitedLewis, Regina (on The Application of) v HM Coroner for The Mid and North Division of The County of Shropshire and Another CA 21-Dec-2009
The claimant’s son was found hanging in his prison cell. He appealed refusal of a judicial review of the coroner’s decision not to put to the jury a question as to certain possible causative matters. The youth was seen hanging, but the guard called . .
CitedRabone and Another v Pennine Care NHS Foundation SC 8-Feb-2012
The claimant’s daughter had committed suicide whilst on home leave from a hospital where she had stayed as a voluntary patient with depression. Her admission had followed a suicide attempt. The hospital admitted negligence but denied that it owed . .
CitedBirks, Regina (On the Application of) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis Admn 25-Sep-2014
The claimant police officer sought judicial review of a decision to continue his suspension. He had been investigated and cleared after a death in custody. He sought to join the Church of England Ministry and was offered a post. He was re-assured . .
CitedGardner and Another, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and Others Admn 27-Apr-2022
Patient transfer policy was unlawful
The claimants had relatives who died in care homes early in the COVID-19 pandemic. They said that the policy of moving patients from hospitals to care homes without testing had contributed to the deaths, and many others, and had been unlawful. The . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights

Updated: 28 April 2022; Ref: scu.226043