Grace Campbell and Jane Cosans both had children in state schools in Scotland, where staff were allowed to hit pupils with a leather strap for disciplinary reasons.
Mrs Campbell asked her local council for a guarantee that corporal punishment would not be used against her seven-year old son, Gordon. The council would not give her such a guarantee.
Mrs Cosans’ son Jeffrey, who was 15, refused to accept corporal punishment for taking a short cut through a cemetery on his way home. He was suspended from school, and never returned.
The two mothers complained to the European Court of Human Rights.