All international legislative
institutions often find the challenge to their power on the basis of political
credibility. The UK is one of the foremost members of the Council of Europe,
which led to the ratification of the Statute of the Council of Europe in 1949.
This led to the further ratification of the European Convention of Human Rights
(ECHR) in 1951. However, after consenting to the obligation for individuals to
petition the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in 1966, the political
bands have suffered a perpetual malaise1.
Whereas the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has been accused for making
a general, irrational and non-conciliatory approach to the questions of human
rights abuses and justice; individual member states, particularly the UK has
felt it is maligned in the jurisdictions. The case of Gillan and Quinton v United Kingdom (2010) is a particularly
indicative case showing a not adequately keen concord with the precise detailed
manner in which litigation should be advanced. For instance, the Court at
Strasbourg made its ruling on the first examination of culpability without an
exhaustive examination of the entire application and all its content. The
delicate balance the UK should demonstrate is that is can progressively advance
its safeguards to human rights at the national level and at the international
levels through appropriate internal laws and external affiliations as founded
on the applications of the ECtHR.
Provide a brief
summary of the facts of the case. 10 marks
The right of individuals to petition the European Court
of Human Rights on matters domestic have raised both legal and political
questions about the legitimacy, impact and the value of the latter in
addressing issues of human rights violations. In the case of Gillan and Quinton v United Kingdom (2010),
two individuals submitted application (no. 4158/05) to the court under Article
34 of the convention citing a violation of their rights by the UK police force.
The two British nationals identified as Mr. Kevin Gillian and Ms. Pennie Quinton
and born 1977 and 1971 respectively, alleged that the London police exercising
the powers to stop and search violated their rights under the statutes of the
They cited that in particular, their rights afforded in the Articles 5, 8, 10
and 11 were violated.
It was obtained that between 9th and 12th
September, 2003, there was a Defense Systems and Equipment International
Exhibition at the Excel Centre in Dockland, East London. The event dabbed “the
arms fair” was the subject of protests and demonstration which prompted the two
applicants hitherto to attend. At about 10:30 am on September 9th,
2003, the first applicant was intercepted by the police while riding a bicycle
and carrying a rucksack near the venue of the arms fair. The two police
officers handed him a notice and told him that he was being searched under Section
44 of the 2000 act. As the crowds increased, the police were concerned that
trouble would be inevitable and therefore carried out the search. The applicant
was found in possession of computer prints of the demonstrations and was released
after a period of about 20 minutes.
On the same day of September 9th, 2003 at 1:15
pm, the second appeared holding a camera in hand, a small bag and wearing a
photographer’s jacket. Since she emerged from some bushes, the police stopped
her close to the arms fair. Having come to film the event, the police officers
from the Metropolitan department stopped and searched her in the ordinary
routines despite having shown her press card. The police explained that she was
using her powers obtained under Section 44 and 45 of the Terrorist Act of 2000.
Nothing incriminating was collected by the police and the applicant was set
free. She later declared that she felt intimidated and distressed to a point
she could not proceed with the business of the day, which was to make a
documentary of film the event and sell raw footage.
The applicant sued for reparations demanding GBP 500 each
for pecuniary damages. On the contrary, the government submitted that in the
light of the shortness of the stoppage and search, the violations did not
constitute a sufficient just satisfaction for the stated reparations citing
that the cases had been adequately addressed in the domestic courts. The court
eventually considered to award the sums of EUR 35,000 covering proceedings
before it, less EUR 1,150 already paid to the legal aide. It was held that the
domestic legislation violated Article 8.
Mowbray Alastair, Cases,
materials, and commentary on the European Convention on Human Rights
(Oxford University Press 2012)
Almasan, Adriana, and Stefan
Bogrea. “The application of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human
Rights to Legal Persons in the Investigations of the Romanian Competition
Council.” Analele Universitatii din Bucuresti: Seria Drept (2016):