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Hurst v UK 42577/07 [2009] ECHR 1988

Statement of facts and questions lodged with the court (case relates to Article 2-compliant inquests).

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Hurst v UK 42577/07 [2009] ECHR 1988

Extract from transcript

Complaints

In the first place, the applicant complains of a substantive violation of Article 2 in that the police and the housing authority were aware or ought to have been aware of a real and immediate risk to the life of Troy Hurst, but that those authorities failed to take reasonable steps to prevent his death.

Secondly, she complains of a breach of the procedural obligations of Article 2 of the Convention. Since her son was killed prior to the coming into force of the HRA, the House of Lords decided that neither the provisions of the HRA nor Article 2 of the Convention could apply to require an investigation into the applicant’s son’s death which took place before October 2000. Accordingly, the State has not promptly carried out an independent and effective public investigation into the death of her son.

Thirdly, and again because his death occurred before the coming into force of the 1998 Act, she complains that domestic law did not enable her to sue the authorities for an arguable breach of Article 2 in violation of Article 13 of the Convention. In particular, she cannot bring a private law claim against the authorities for their failure to take positive steps to prevent her son’s killing because (a) of a clear line of domestic case law which makes it clear that the police do not owe a private law duty of care to prevent a death in the circumstances of a case such as this; and (b) she could not avail of the HRA to advance a private law claim alleging a violation of Article 2 of the Convention given her son’s date of death.

Questions to the parties

1. Has the applicant complied with the requirements of Article 35 § 1 of the Convention having regard to the withdrawal of her civil proceedings in September 2007?

2. Has there been a failure to protect the life of the applicant’s son (by the police and/or by the local authority), as guaranteed by Article 2 of the Convention?

In particular, did the relevant public agents know or ought they to have known of the existence of a real and immediate risk to the applicant’s son’s life and did they fail to take measures within the scope of their powers which, judged reasonably, might have been expected to avoid that risk?

3. Have the procedural protections guaranteed by Article 2 of the Convention been complied with in the present case.

In particular, the criminal proceedings against Mr Reid apart, was there an adequate investigation into the circumstances leading up to and surrounding Troy Hurst’s death which would comply with the requirements of that Article. The parties are requested to comment, in this context, on civil proceedings for damages in negligence (against the police and the local authority) and/or disciplinary proceedings?

4. Was the applicant’s right of access to court for the determination of her civil rights disproportionately restricted having regard to the availability to her of any civil remedy in damages against the police and/or the local authority?

5. Has there been a violation of Article 13 as regards the rights guaranteed by Article 2 of the Convention having regard to any availability since the death of Troy Hurst of domestic civil proceedings by which the applicant could obtain damages in negligence as regards his death?

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