Raise your hand against smacking


Legal texts

Case law of the European Court of Human Rights
If links do not work, type the application number into the Court's database Hudoc

Case of A v. UK, 1998   (parental corporal punishment) application number 25599/94

Case of Cambell and Cosans v. UK, 1982 (corporal punishment as inflicted at school) application number 7511/73

Case of Tyrer v. UK, 1978  (prohibition of judicial birching) application number 5856/72

Unsuccessful challenges to the Court's position on corporal punishment  in schools:

September 2000:  the ECHR rejected by unanimous vote, without hearing, an application by individuals associated with a group of Christian private schools in the UK alleging that implementation of the ban on corporal punishment in private schools breached parents' rights to freedom of religion and family life (European Court of Human Rights, 2000).

Seven individuals  v. Sweden, 1982 (appealing to the right to respect for family life)

Philip Williamson and others v. UK, 2000  (appealing to the right to freedom of religion and family life)

The European Committee of Social Rights
The European Social Charter's Article 17 requires states to protect children from all forms of ill-treatment. The European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR), the monitoring body of the Charter, has interpreted this article as requiring a prohibition in legislation against any form of violence against children, including corporal punishment in all settings (home, school, etc.). The following are collective complaints  relevant to corporal punishment lodged with the ECSR. 

No. 21/2003 World Organisation against Torture (OMCT) v. Belgium

No. 18/2003 World Organisation against Torture (OMCT) v. Ireland

No. 17/2003 World Organisation against Torture (OMCT) v. Greece

No. 34/2006 World Organisation against Torture (OMCT) v. Portugal  

Complaint No. 34/ 2006 / World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT v Portugal. The European Committee of Social Rights  concluded that Portugal was in violation of Article 17 of the Revised Charter for failure to "prohibit and penalise in  all forms of violence against children, that is acts or behaviour likely to affect the physical integrity, dignity, development or psychological well being of children". Since the ECSR decision Portugal has modified its penal code to reflect full prohibition.

The Committee of Ministers
Committee of Ministers recommendation Rec(2006)19 on policy to support positive parenting

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1666 (2004) on a Europe-wide ban of corporal punishment of children.

Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1778 (2007) on child victims: stamping out all forms of violence, exploitation and abuse / Click on "Doc. 11118" at the end of the recommendation for the report prepared by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights (rapporteur: Charles Gardetto)
Also see:
Theseus, a data base containing case law on children's rights from the European Court of Human Rights