Advice & Assistance
Researh & Briefings
Deaths, Inquests & Prosecutions
Corporate  Crime & safety Database
Safety Statistics
Obtaining Safety Information
CCA Responses to Consultation Documents
CCA Advocacy
CCA Press Releases
CCA Publications
Support the CCA
Search the CCA site
Contact Us
Quick Links ->
Right to Life - and its impact on work-related deaths

Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights states:

"Everyone's right to life shall be protected by law". [full text]

In summary the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and of UK courts indicates that this article imposes the following obligations upon states:

an obligation upon states not to take life without justification

an obligation to establish a framework of laws precautions, procedures and means of enforcement which will, to the greatest extent reasonably practicable, protect life. In the case of Osman [1] it was stated that this obligation amounted to:

"putting in place effective criminal law provisions to deter the commission of offences against the person backed up by law-enforcement machinery for the prevention, supression and sanctioning of breaches of such provisions"

an obligation in certain well defined circumstances to take preventative operational measures to protect an individual whose life is at risk from the criminal acts of another individual.

a procedural obligation which includes the "minimum requirement of a mechanism" so that the circumstances of certain kinds of deaths will be subject to "public and independent scrutiny". In Osman the court said:

" The nature and degree of scrutiny which satisfies this minimum threshold must, in the Commission's view, depend on the circumstances of the particular case. There may be cases where the facts surrounding a deprivation of life are clear and undisputed and the subsequent inquisitorial examination may legitimately be reduced to a minimum formality. But equally, there may be other cases, where a victim dies in circumstances which are unclear, in which event the lack of any effective procedure to investigate the cause of the deprivation of life could by itself raise an issue under article 2 of the Convention."to undertake an investigation into certain kinds of deaths."

The case of Amin, makes clear, however that, "The state's duty to investigate is secondary to the duties not to take life unlawfully and to protect life in the sense that it only arises where a death has occurred or life=threatending injuries have occurred" (para 31)

To read about what is required to states to fulfil the procedural obligation to hold an investigation, and to find out what deaths it applies to, click here


Article 2 of ECHR

1 Everyone's right to life shall be protected by law. No one shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a court following his conviction of a crime for which this penalty is provided by law.
2 Deprivation of life shall not be regarded as inflicted in contravention of this article when it results from the use of force which is no more than absolutely necessary:
in defence of any person from unlawful violence;
in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent escape of a person lawfully detained
in action lawfully taken for the purpose of quelling a riot or insurrection.

Back to top

Home -> Deaths, Inquests & Prosecutions
Page last updated on July 27, 2009