Stubbings and Others v The United Kingdom: ECHR 22 Oct 1996

There was no human rights breach where the victims of sex abuse had been refused a right to sue for damages out of time. The question is whether and to what extent differences in otherwise similar situations justify a different treatment in law: ‘Limitation periods in personal injury cases are a common feature of the domestic legal systems of the Contracting States. They serve several important purposes, namely to ensure legal certainty and finality, protect potential defendants from stale claims which might be difficult to counter and prevent the injustice which might arise if courts were required to decide upon events which took place in the distant past on the basis of evidence which might have become unreliable and incomplete because of the passage of time.’
The Court considered the positive duty falling on states to protect against child abuse: ‘Sexual abuse is unquestionably an abhorrent type of wrongdoing, with debilitating effects on its victims. Children and other vulnerable individuals are entitled to state protection, in the form of effective deterrence, from such grave types of interference with essential aspects of their private lives.’
Times 24-Oct-1996, (1996) 23 EHRR 213, [1996] ECHR 44, 22083/93, 22095/93
Bailii, Bailii
European Convention on Human Rights 6.1
Citing:
Appeal fromStubbings v Webb and Another HL 10-Feb-1993
Sexual Assault is not an Act of Negligence
In claims for damages for child abuse at a children’s home made out of the six year time limit time were effectively time barred, with no discretion for the court to extend that limit. The damage occurred at the time when the child left the home. A . .

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 . .
Appealed toStubbings v Webb and Another HL 10-Feb-1993
Sexual Assault is not an Act of Negligence
In claims for damages for child abuse at a children’s home made out of the six year time limit time were effectively time barred, with no discretion for the court to extend that limit. The damage occurred at the time when the child left the home. A . .
CitedA v Secretary of State for the Home Department, and X v Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 16-Dec-2004
The applicants had been imprisoned and held without trial, being suspected of international terrorism. No criminal charges were intended to be brought. They were foreigners and free to return home if they wished, but feared for their lives if they . .
CitedAdamson v United Kingdom ECHR 1999
The Court considered whether the notification requirements of the UK sex offenders’ registration scheme constitute a penalty for the purposes of Article 7 or infringed the applicant’s rights under Article 8.
Held: They did not. As to article . .
CitedJ A Pye (Oxford) Ltd v The United Kingdom ECHR 15-Nov-2005
The claimants had been the registered proprietors of land, they lost it through the adverse possession of former tenants holding over. They claimed that the law had dispossessed them of their lawful rights.
Held: The cumulative effect of the . .
CitedA v Hoare QBD 14-Oct-2005
The defendant had been convicted and sentenced for the attempted rape of the claimant. He had subsequently won a substantial sum on the lottery, and she now sought damages. He replied that the action was statute barred being now 16 years old. The . .
CitedSeal v Chief Constable of South Wales Police HL 4-Jul-2007
The claimant had sought to bring proceedings against the respondent, but as a mental patient subject to the 1983 Act, had been obliged by the section first to obtain consent. The parties disputed whether the failure was a procedural or substantial . .
CitedRJM, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions HL 22-Oct-2008
The 1987 Regulations provided additional benefits for disabled persons, but excluded from benefit those who had nowhere to sleep. The claimant said this was irrational. He had been receiving the disability premium to his benefits, but this was . .
CitedTimes Newspapers Ltd (Nos. 1 And 2) v The United Kingdom ECHR 10-Mar-2009
The applicant alleged that the rule under United Kingdom law whereby each time material is downloaded from the Internet a new cause of action in libel proceedings accrued (‘the Internet publication rule’) constituted an unjustifiable and . .
CitedF and Another, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for The Home Department SC 21-Apr-2010
The defendants had been convicted and sentenced for offences which under the 2003 Act would mean that they stayed permanently on the Sex Offenders’ register without possibility of a review. The Secretary of State appealed aganst a finding that the . .
CitedMatheson v Mazars Solutions Ltd EAT 16-Dec-2003
EAT Practice and Procedure – Application. The application had been presented timeously at the ET in Edinburgh, but was out of time when retransmitted to Glasgow. The tribunal had found the Edinburgh office to be . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 06 January 2021; Ref: scu.165444