(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 democratic society. Though the right is not absolute, any limitation had to be in pursuance of a legitimate aim. There is ‘no question that a prisoner forfeits his Convention rights merely because of his status as a person detained following conviction. Nor is there any place under the Convention system, where tolerance and broadmindedness are the acknowledged hallmarks of democratic society, for automatic disenfranchisement based purely on what might offend public opinion.’
‘Such a general, automatic and indiscriminate restriction on a vitally important Convention right must be seen as falling outside any acceptable margin of appreciation’.
‘prisoners in general continue to enjoy all the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Convention save for the right to liberty, where lawfully imposed detention expressly falls within the scope of article 5 of the Convention.’
L Wildhaber, P
Times 10-Oct-2005, 74025/01, (2006) 42 EHRR 41,  ECHR 681
European Convention on Human Rights 3, Representation of the People Act 1983 3
At Commission – Hirst 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 . .
Cited – Mathieu Mohin and Clerfayt v Belgium ECHR 2-Mar-1987
(Plenary Court) The court described and approved the way in which an ‘institutional’ right to vote had developed into ‘subjective rights of participation – the ‘right to vote’ and the ‘right to stand for election’.’ It described the ambit of Article . .
Mentioned – Melnychenko v Ukraine ECHR 19-Oct-2004
Cited – Aziz v Cyprus ECHR 22-Jun-2004
Depriving a Turkish Cypriot living in the Government-controlled area of Cyprus of the right to vote was a breach of article 3. However: ‘States enjoy considerable latitude to establish rules within their constitutional order governing . . the . .
Cited – Podkolzina v Latvia ECHR 9-Apr-2002
Appeal from – 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 . .
Cited – Labita v Italy ECHR 6-Apr-2000
Hudoc Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) No violation of Art. 3 with regard to alleged ill-treatment; Violation of Art. 3 with regard to lack of effective investigation; No violation of Art. 3 with regard to . .
Cited – The United Communist Party of Turkey And Others v Turkey ECHR 30-Jan-1998
Hudoc Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) Violation of Art. 11; Not necessary to examine Art. 9; Not necessary to examine Art. 10; Not necessary to examine Art. 14; Not necessary to examine Art. 18; Not . .
Cited – Matthews v The United Kingdom ECHR 18-Feb-1999
Member states have obligations to ensure that citizens of each state were given opportunity to vote in European elections. Britain failed to give the vote to its citizens in Gibraltar in breach of the convention right to participate in free . .
Cited – Kalashnikov v Russia ECHR 15-Jul-2002
Hudoc Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) Violation of Art. 3; Violation of Art. 5-3; Violation of Art. 6-1; Pecuniary damage – claim rejected; Non-pecuniary damage – financial award; Costs and expenses . .
Cited – Van Der Ven v The Netherlands ECHR 4-Feb-2003
The applicant’s complaint was that the detention regime to which he was subjected in a maximum security prison, including the use of intrusive strip searches, constituted inhuman and/or degrading treatment and infringed his right to respect for his . .
Cited – Ploski v Poland ECHR 12-Nov-2002
Hudoc Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) Violation of Art. 8 ; Non-pecuniary damage – financial award ; Costs and expenses partial award – Convention proceedings
The claimant had been in prison on . .
Cited – Yankov v Bulgaria ECHR 11-Dec-2003
Hudoc Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) Violation of Art. 3 ; Violation of Art. 10 ; Violation of Art. 13 ; Violation of Art. 5-3 ; Violation of Art. 5-4 ; Violation of Art. 5-5 ; Violation of Art. 6-1 ; . .
Cited – Poltoratskiy v Ukraine ECHR 29-Apr-2003
Hudoc Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) No violation of Art. 3 with regard to alleged assaults ; Violation of Art. 3 with regard to lack of effective investigation ; Violation of Art. 3 with regard to . .
Cited – Golder v The United Kingdom ECHR 21-Feb-1975
G was a prisoner who was refused permission by the Home Secretary to consult a solicitor with a view to bringing libel proceedings against a prison officer. The court construed article 6 of ECHR, which provides that ‘in the determination of his . .
Cited – Silver And Others v The United Kingdom ECHR 25-Mar-1983
There had been interference with prisoners’ letters by prison authorities. The Commission considered Standing Orders and Circular Instructions in relation to restrictions on correspondence. The rules were not available to prisoners and were . .
Cited – Wilson v Wychavon District Council and Another Admn 20-Dec-2005
The claimant complained that the law which protected an occupier of a dwelling house from a temporary stop notice did not apply to those living in caravans, and that this was discriminatory.
Held: The claim failed. ‘usually a change of use of . .
Cited – Smith v KD Scott, Electoral Registration Officer SCS 24-Jan-2007
The prisoner claimed that his right to vote had not been re-instated despite a year having passed since the European Court of Human Rights had found that the withdrawal of that right for prisoners was an infringement.
Held: It was not possible . .
Cited – Wilson, Regina (on the Application of) v Wychavon District Council and Another CA 6-Feb-2007
The claimants said that an enforcement notice issued against them under a law which would prevent such a notice against the use of a building as a dwelling, but not against use of a caravan as a dwelling, discriminated against them as gypsies.
Cited – AB, Regina (On the Application of) v Secretary of State for Justice and Another Admn 4-Sep-2009
The claimant was serving a sentence of imprisonment. She was a pre-operative transgender woman, but held in a male prison. She sought review of a decision to refuse transfer to a women’s prison. The Gender Recognition Panel was satisfied that the . .
Cited – Regina (Chester) v Secretary of State for Justice and Another QBD 28-Oct-2009
The claimant a prisoner detained after the expiry of his lfe sentence tariff as dangerous, sought a declaration that the refusal to allow him to register as a voter in prison infringed his human rights.
Held: Such a claim had already succeeded . .
Cited – Bary and Others, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Justice and Another Admn 19-Mar-2010
The applicants, incarcerated at Long Lartin pending extradition or deportation, challenged a decision further restricting their movements within the prison. All were unconvicted, and all but one were suspected of terrorist crimes. The changes were . .
Grand Chamber – Hirst v The United Kingdom ECHR 3-Dec-2009
(Resolutions) The court noted the long delay in the respondent in implementing the judgment of the court and giving prisoners voting rights, the present consultation and adjourned until March 2011 for further information. . .
Grand Chamber decision – Tovey and Others v Ministry of Justice QBD 18-Feb-2011
The claimants, serving prisoners, sought damages saying that the refusal to allow them to vote was in infringement of their human rights. The large numbers of claims had been consolidated in London. The claimant sought to withdraw his claim.
Cited – Chester, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Justice SC 16-Oct-2013
The two applicants were serving life sentences for murder. Each sought damages for the unlawful withdrawal of their rights to vote in elections, and the failure of the British parliament to take steps to comply with the judgment.
Held: The . .
Cited – Nicklinson and Another, Regina (on The Application of) SC 25-Jun-2014
Criminality of Assisting Suicide not Infringing
The court was asked: ‘whether the present state of the law of England and Wales relating to assisting suicide infringes the European Convention on Human Rights, and whether the code published by the Director of Public Prosecutions relating to . .
Cited – T and Another, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for The Home Department and Another SC 18-Jun-2014
T and JB, asserted that the reference in certificates issued by the state to cautions given to them violated their right to respect for their private life under article 8 of the Convention. T further claims that the obligation cast upon him to . .
Cited – Gaughran v Chief Constable of The Police Service of Northern Ireland (Northern Ireland) SC 13-May-2015
The court was asked as to to the right of the Police Service of Northern Ireland to retain personal information and data lawfully obtained from the appellant following his arrest for the offence of driving with excess alcohol.
Held: The appeal . .
Cited – McCann v The State Hospitals Board for Scotland SC 11-Apr-2017
A challenge by request for judicial review to the legality of the comprehensive ban on smoking at the State Hospital at Carstairs which the State Hospitals Board adopted. The appellant, a detained patient, did not challenge the ban on smoking . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Human Rights, Prisons, Elections
Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.231041