Pearson 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 section 3 as a tool for interpretation unless and until it is established that the Human Rights Act applies. In Middleton and Sacker it was simply assumed, without demur, that it applied on a retrospective basis but with the point expressly left open. However, the point was very clearly decided in McKerr. It comes to this. When article 2 provides that ‘everyone’s right to life shall be protected by law’, it embraces both a positive obligation on the state to protect everyone’s life and a procedural requirement that there should be some form of effective official investigation when an individual has been killed. The present case is concerned with that procedural obligation. It is not the primary obligation imposed by article 2 but, in the words of Lord Nicholls, ‘a consequential obligation’. . The logic of McKerr is inexorable. If the positive obligation did not arise in domestic law prior to 2 October 2000, the consequential, secondary, ancillary or adjectival obligation cannot now give rise to a domestic obligation because it is consequential upon and secondary, ancillary and adjectival to the substantive obligation to protect life. I am driven to the conclusion that if the Appellate Committee in Middleton and Sacker had been required to address this question, it would have yielded to the same inexorable logic.’


Maurice Kay LJ, Moses J


[2005] EWHC 833 (Admin)




Coroners Act 1988 13, Human Rights Act 1998 3

Cited by:

CitedHurst, 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 . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Coroners, Human Rights

Updated: 30 June 2022; Ref: scu.224845