Complaints were made as to the deaths of six Iraqi civilians which were the result of actions by a member or members of the British armed forces in Basra. One of them, Mr Baha Mousa, had died as a result of severe maltreatment in a prison occupied and run by British military personnel. It was argued for the civilians that, because of the special circumstances in which British troops were operating in Basra, the conduct complained of, although taking place outside the borders of the United Kingdom and any other contracting state, fell within the exceptions recognised by the Strasbourg jurisprudence.
Held: The acts of a UK public authority were subject to the human rights convention outside the UK, but only where at the time the victim was within the jurisdiction of the UK under article 1. Where a state through effective control of another territory exercised powers normally exercised by the government of that territory, the obligation to secure the Convention rights would arise only where a contracting state had such effective control over an area as to enable it to provide the full package of rights and freedoms guaranteed by article 1 of the Convention to everyone within that area.
The task of the English courts is to keep pace with the Strasbourg jurisprudence as it develops over time, no more and no less.
Lord Rodger remarked: ‘in case of doubt, the Act should be read so as to promote, not so as to defeat or impair, its central purpose.’
Lord Brown said that the Convention should not be construed as ‘reaching any further than the existing Strasbourg jurisprudence clearly shows it to reach.’
Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, Baroness Hale of Richmond, Lord Carswell, Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood
 UKHL 26, TImes 14-Jun-2007,  1 AC 153,  3 All ER 685,  3 WLR 33,  Inquest LR 168,  UKHRR 955,  HRLR 31, 22 BHRC 518
Human Rights Act 1998, European Convention on Human Rights
England and Wales
At First Instance – Al Skeini and Others, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Defence and Another Admn 14-Dec-2004
Several dependants of persons killed in Iraq by British troops claimed damages.
Held: The court considered extensively the scope and applicability of Article 1 duties. In general an English court would have no jurisdiction over deaths abroad . .
Appeal from – Regina (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 . .
Cited – Regina v Lyons, Parnes, Ronson, Saunders HL 15-Nov-2002
The defendants had been convicted on evidence obtained from them by inspectors with statutory powers to require answers on pain of conviction. Subsequently the law changed to find such activity an infringement of a defendant’s human rights.
Cited – In re McKerr (Northern Ireland) HL 11-Mar-2004
The deceased had been shot by soldiers of the British Army whilst in a car in Northern Ireland. The car was alleged to have ‘run’ a checkpoint. The claimants said the investigation, now 20 years ago, had been inadequate. The claim was brought under . .
Cited – Gentle, Regina (on the Application of) and Another v The Prime Minister and Another HL 9-Apr-2008
The appellants were mothers of two servicemen who had died whilst on active service in Iraq. They appealed refusal to grant a public inquiry. There had already been coroners inquests. They said that Article 2 had been infringed.
Held: The . .
Cited – Barclay and Others, Regina (on the Application of) v The Seigneur of Sark and Another Admn 18-Jun-2008
The claimants said that the the laws restricting residence and voting rights and oher constitutional arrangements on the Isle of Sark were in breach of European law, and human rights law.
Held: The claims failed. The composition of Chief Pleas . .
Cited – Animal Defenders International, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport HL 12-Mar-2008
The applicant, a non-profit company who campaigned against animal cruelty, sought a declaration of incompatibility for section 321(2) of the 2003 Act, which prevented adverts with political purposes, as an unjustified restraint on the right of . .
Cited – Smith v The Assistant Deputy Coroner for Oxfordshire Admn 11-Apr-2008
The claimant’s son had died of hyperthermia whilst serving in the army in Iraq. The parties requested a new inquisition after the coroner had rules that human rights law did not apply to servicemen serving outside Europe. Reports had been prepared . .
Cited – Barclay and Others, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Justice and others CA 2-Dec-2008
The claimant appealed against refusal of his challenge to the new constitutional law for Sark, and sought a declaration of incompatibility under the 1998 Act. He said that by restricting the people who could stand for election, a free democracy had . .
Cited – Al-Saadoon and Another, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Defence Admn 19-Dec-2008
The two applicants had been detained by the armed forces in Iraq suspected of murder. They sought release before being transferred to the civilian authorities for trial saying that the trials would not be fair. The respondent denied that the . .
Cited – Reynolds, Regina (on the Application of) v Sussex Police and Another Admn 16-May-2008
The complainant’s brother had been arrested for being drunk. After a time in a cell, he was found unwell and fell into a coma. Complaints were made of his treatment. The Police Complaints Commission was to investigate the events after the arrest . .
Cited – Al-Saadoon and Another, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Defence CA 21-Jan-2009
The claimants had been detained on the request of the Iraqi criminal court in a detention facility run by the UK armed forces. They complained of their proposed transfer to an Iraqi facility in anticipation of facing trial for murder, for which if . .
Cited – Secretary of State for Defence v Smith, Regina (on the Application of) CA 18-May-2009
The soldier had died of heatstroke after exercises in Iraq. The Minister appealed against a finding that the circumstances of his death required an investigation compliant with Article 2 human rights, saying that he was not subject to such . .
Cited – Masri v Consolidated Contractors International Co Sal and Others HL 30-Jul-2009
The claimant sought to enforce a judgment debt against a foreign resident company, and for this purpose to examine or have examined a director who lived abroad. The defendant said that the rules gave no such power and they did, the power was outside . .
Cited – A, Regina (on The Application of) v B; Regina (A) v Director of Establishments of the Security Service SC 9-Dec-2009
B, a former senior member of the security services wished to publish his memoirs. He was under contractual and statutory obligations of confidentiality. He sought judicial review of a decision not to allow him to publish parts of the book, saying it . .
Cited – Smith, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Defence and Oxfordshire Assistant Deputy Coroner (Equality and Human Rights Commission intervening) SC 30-Jun-2010
The deceased soldier died of heat exhaustion whilst on active service in Iraq. It was said that he was owed a duty under human rights laws, and that any coroner’s inquest should be a fuller one to satisfy the state’s duty under Article 2.
Cited – Mousa and Others v Secretary of State for Defence and Another Admn 16-Jul-2010
The claimants sought judicial review of the respondent in respect of alleged mistreatment when detained in Iraq. They sought a judicial inquiry. . .
Cited – Armstrong v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police CA 5-Dec-2008
The Chief Constable appealed against a finding that the claimant had been arrested for rape without reasonable grounds. A description of the rapist had been given which the claimant met in several respects, but from which he clearly differed in . .
Cited – Zagorski and Baze, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Others Admn 29-Nov-2010
The claimants, in the US awaiting execution for murders, challenged the permitting by the defendant for export of the chemical Sodium Thipental which would be used for their execution. The respondent said that its use in general anaesthesia practice . .
Cited – McCaughey and Another, Re Application forJudicial Review SC 18-May-2011
The claimants sought a fuller inquest into deaths at the hands of the British Army in 1990 in Northern Ireland. On opening the inquest, the coroner had declined to undertake to hold a hearing compliant with article 2, and it had not made progress. . .
Cited – Salimi, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for The Home Department and Another Admn 1-Jul-2011
The claimant said he had been assaulted by Iraqi police and contractors in Baghdad Airport whilst he was being forcibly returned there, and that the defendant had responsibility. He complained that about the failure of the IPCC to investigate his . .
Cited – Smith and Others v Ministry of Defence QBD 30-Jun-2011
Claims were made after the deaths of British troops on active service in Iraq. In one case the deaths were from detonations of improvised explosive devices, and on others as a result of friendly fire. It was said that there had been a foreseeable . .
Cited – Ambrose 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 . .
Cited – Sugar v British Broadcasting Corporation and Another (2) SC 15-Feb-2012
The claimant sought release of a report prepared by the respondent as to its coverage of the Arab/Israel conflict partly for journalistic purposes, and partly for compliance.
Held: The appeal failed. Where the report was prepared even if only . .
At HL – Al-Skeini and Others v The United Kingdom ECHR 7-Jul-2011
(Grand Chamber) The exercise of jurisdiction, which is a threshold condition, is a necessary condition for a contracting state to be able to be held responsible for acts or omissions imputable to it which give rise to an allegation of the . .
Cited – Smith and Others v The Ministry of Defence SC 19-Jun-2013
The claimants were PRs of men who had died or were severely injured on active duty in Iraq being variously fired at by mistake by other coalition forces, or dying in vehicles attacked by roadside bombs. Appeals were heard against a finding that the . .
Cited – Kennedy v The Charity Commission SC 26-Mar-2014
The claimant journalist sought disclosure of papers acquired by the respondent in its conduct of enquiries into the charitable Mariam appeal. The Commission referred to an absolute exemption under section 32(2) of the 2000 Act, saying that the . .
Cited – Barclay and Another, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Justice and Others SC 22-Oct-2014
Constitutional Status of Chanel Islands considered
The Court was asked as to the role, if any, of the courts of England and Wales (including the Supreme Court) in the legislative process of one of the Channel Islands. It raised fundamental questions about the constitutional relationship between the . .
Cited – Haney and Others, Regina (on The Application of) v The Secretary of State for Justice SC 10-Dec-2014
The four claimants, each serving indeterminate prison sentences, said that as they approached the times when thy might apply for parol, they had been given insufficient support and training to meet the requirements for release. The courts below had . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Human Rights, Armed Forces
Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.253442