Regina (Pearson Martinez and Hirst) v Secretary of State for the Home Department and Others; Hirst v Attorney-General: QBD 17 Apr 2001

A law which removed a prisoner’s right to vote whilst in prison was not incompatible with his human rights. The implied right to vote under article 3 was not absolute, and states had a wide margin of appreciation as to how and to what extent the right should be limited, provided that the conditions should not curtail the rights to such an extent as to remove their effectiveness, and should only be imposed in pursuit of a legitimate aim, and should not be disproportionate.


Lord Justice Kennedy


Times 17-Apr-2001, Gazette 07-Jun-2001, [2001] EWHC Admin 239




Representation of the People Act 1983 3 (1), European Convention on Human Rights 3

Cited by:

Appeal fromHirst v The United Kingdom (No. 2) ECHR 30-Mar-2004
(Commission) The prisoner alleged that the denial of his right to vote whilst in prison was disproportionate. He was serving a life sentence for manslaughter.
Held: The denial of a right to vote was in infringement of his rights and . .
Appeal fromHirst v United Kingdom (2) ECHR 6-Oct-2005
(Grand Chamber) The applicant said that whilst a prisoner he had been banned from voting. The UK operated with minimal exceptions, a blanket ban on prisoners voting.
Held: Voting is a right not a privilege. It was a right central in a . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Sentencing, Human Rights, Elections, Prisons, Elections, Human Rights

Updated: 19 May 2022; Ref: scu.85999