Prohibition of Torture in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • Jones v Ministry of the Interior of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and another (Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs and another intervening); Mitchell v Al-Dali;
    • House of Lords
    • 14 Jun 2006

    But the same approach cannot be adopted in international law, which is based upon the common consent of nations. It is not for a national court to "develop" international law by unilaterally adopting a version of that law which, however desirable, forward-looking and reflective of values it may be, is simply not accepted by other states. (See Al-Adsani 34 EHRR 273, 297, para O-II9 in the concurring opinion of judges Pellonpää and Bratza).

  • JB(Torture and III treatment - Article 3)
    • Immigration Appeals Tribunal
    • 24 Feb 2003

    The Adjudicator has given no indication about the areas in which he found the appellant to be vague. To describe a person's evidence as vague and use that as a ground for disbelief is, in our view, quite unsatisfactory unless of course the areas of lack of detail, which cause concern, are clearly spelt out.

  • Patrick Reyes v The Queen
    • Privy Council
    • 11 Mar 2002

    A generous and purposive interpretation is to be given to constitutional provisions protecting human rights. The court has no licence to read its own predilections and moral values into the constitution, but it is required to consider the substance of the fundamental right at issue and ensure contemporary protection of that right in the light of evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society (see Trop v Dulles, above, at 101).

  • A v Secretary of State for the Home Department (No. 2)
    • House of Lords
    • 08 Dec 2005

    It is common ground in these proceedings that the international prohibition of the use of torture enjoys the enhanced status of a jus cogens or peremptory norm of general international law. In R v Bow Street Metropolitan Stipendiary Magistrate, Ex p Pinochet Ugarte (No 3) [2000] 1 AC 147, 197-199, the jus cogens nature of the international crime of torture, the subject of universal jurisdiction, was recognised.

    The principles of the common law, standing alone, in my opinion compel the exclusion of third party torture evidence as unreliable, unfair, offensive to ordinary standards of humanity and decency and incompatible with the principles which should animate a tribunal seeking to administer justice. Effect must be given to the European Convention, which itself takes account of the all but universal consensus embodied in the Torture Convention.

  • Earl Pratt and Another v The Attorney General for Jamaica and Another
    • Privy Council
    • 02 Nov 1993

    There is an instinctive revulsion against the prospect of hanging a man after he has been held under sentence of death for many years. The answer can only be our humanity; we regard it as an inhuman act to keep a man facing the agony of execution over a long extended period of time.

    In their Lordships' view a State that wishes to retain capital punishment must accept the responsibility of ensuring that execution follows as swiftly as practicable after sentence, allowing a reasonable time for appeal and consideration of reprieve. Appellate procedures that echo down the years are not compatible with capital punishment.

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