UK - UK Court of Appeal rules on Article 3 ECHR cases relating to medical grounds

Monday, February 9, 2015

In an appeal against the determination of the Upper Tribunal to remove six individuals who have serious medical conditions, the Court of Appeal has had to grapple with the scope of Article 3 following on from analogous case law in D v United Kingdom (1997) 25 EHRR 31 and N v United Kingdom (2008) 47 EHRR 39.

The claimants’ central contentions relate to the consequences of removal or deportation to their life expectancy, entailing violations of both Article 3 and 8 of the ECHR if carried out. Submitting that the enlargement of Article 3 can only take place with regards to situations which have some affinity with the paradigm case, i.e. in the Court’s view an intentional act which constitutes torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the Court goes onto note that, nonetheless, the Strasbourg Court have accepted a degree of enlargement to Article 3 and the requirement of state responsibility (D v United KingdomM.S.S v Belgium and GreeceSufi and Elmi v UK and Tarakhel v Switzerland). Rejecting that MSS, Sufi and Elmi and Tarakhel cast no significant light on the Court’s approach, they subsequently rely heavily on N v United Kingdom to advance that the common factor for enlarging Article 3 “is that there exists very pressing reasons to hold the impugned State responsible for the claimant's plight,” in other words, that exceptional circumstances exist. According to the Court’s interpretation, an extension appears to only relate to deathbed cases. 

Dismissing the Article 3 claims the Court notes further that the claimants had not raised any argumentation with regards to Article 8 and thus refused to exercise discretion to allow consideration of those arguments.

9 February 2015
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Assessment of facts and circumstances
Country of origin
Health (right to)
Humanitarian considerations
Inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
Medical Reports/Medico-legal Reports
Personal circumstances of applicant