United Kingdom

ENTRY INTO FORCE of the European Convention on Human Rights

3 September 1953

Number of implemented cases*

418

Examples

Airline worker wins fight for religious freedom

Nadia Eweida worked for British Airways (BA). She wore a small silver cross around her neck, as a sign of her religious faith. BA suspended Nadia from work without pay because her cross violated its uniform policy. The European Court of Human Rights ruled that this was an unreasonable interference with Nadia’s right to freedom of religion - leading to a change in relevant standards in the UK.

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Man persecuted for his sexuality wins landmark judgment – transforming the law in Northern Ireland and beyond

Since the age of 14, Jeffrey Dudgeon experienced fear, suffering, and psychological distress because his sexuality was regarded as a crime. His house was raided by police and he was interrogated for hours. In a test case, the European court ruled that law violated the right to private life. In 1982, Northern Ireland legalised homosexual relationships – followed by many other European countries.

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Justice for victims of child abuse

Whilst in their parents’ care, four children were exposed to terrible neglect and emotional abuse. The Strasbourg court found that the local authority had known about the abuse, and had the power to take steps to protect the children, but it had not done so for four-and-a-half years. The children were awarded damages which provided funds for future psychological care.

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DNA records of innocent people destroyed after privacy complaint

Two men from Sheffield had DNA samples taken by the police. Criminal charges against them were dropped. However, under British law the police could retain their DNA forever. The Strasbourg court ruled that keeping DNA records of innocent people breached their right to privacy.

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CCTV footage of suicide attempt used for publicity

A local authority’s CCTV cameras recorded a man attempting suicide. The local authority released the pictures to the media, after which they appeared in newspapers and on television. The Strasbourg Court ruled that the release of the images had been an unnecessary violation of the man’s privacy.

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Greater protection for the media after journalist fined for refusing to reveal the identity of his source

Journalist William Goodwin was given leaked information about a company. The company wanted to sue the source of the leak - but Mr Goodwin refused to reveal their identity. The UK courts fined Mr Goodwin 5,000 pounds for contempt of court. The Strasbourg court ruled this had violated his right to receive and give out information.

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* This figure includes implemented judgments of the European Court of Human Rights and implemented friendly settlements in litigation before the court. The statistics will be updated annually, at the beginning of each calendar year. Source: the database of the Department for the Execution of Judgments of the ECHR, HUDOC-EXEC.