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A v United Kingdom

[2003] 36 EHRR 51

Case summary last updated at 06/02/2020 10:45 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case A v United Kingdom

European Court of Human Rights: A wanted to issue defamation proceedings against an MP who criticised her in parliament but parliamentary privilege prevented her from doing so. She said that this (1) breached her right of fair access to the courts, and (2) breached her right of privacy, since she was being prevented from legally enforcing it. The court ruled that right of access to the courts (article 6) was not absolute and was derogable where there was a legitimate aim and the derogation was proportionate. The legitimate aim was protecting MPs’ free speech and given the importance of this regarding the state’s elected representatives, it was proportionate. Furthermore, victims are not totally without redress since they can petition the house to secure an apology, while misleading statements are punishable by the HC’s own procedural bodies. The legitimate aim and proportionality issues are the same regarding right to private life and in this way too the derogation is allowed. 

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