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Matthews v UK

[1999] 28 EHRR 361

Case summary last updated at 14/02/2020 16:45 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Matthews v UK

P was a British citizen and resident of Gibraltar. She applied to be registered as a voter in the elections to the European Parliament but was told that under the terms of the EC Act on Direct Elections of 1976 Gibraltar was not included in the franchise for those elections. She argued before ECtHR that this violated article 3 protocol 1 (“The High Contracting Parties undertake to hold free elections at reasonable intervals by secret ballot, under conditions which will ensure the free expression of the opinion of the people in the choice of the legislature”). The court held that there had been a violation of this right because although Gibralter was subject to EU laws, it had no say in electing its representatives to the EU. The fact that the EU is not a contracting party to the ECHR is irrelevant, as the UK had simply outsourced some of its competences and was still responsible for the effect of those outsourced laws on people’s rights. Contracting states are responsible for guaranteeing the ECHR rights.

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