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Human Rights, Civil Liberties & Public Law
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  • FREE
30 minutes of audio
(+ optional 5 minute online quiz)
Plays on Computer:
Yes Downloadable as MP3:    Yes
Course Aims:

This podcast aims to examine the State's obligations under Article 2 in relation to the effective investigation of deaths. It will examine the scope of Article 2 (right to life) in relation to investigations and how that impacts upon the UK practice of using the inquest procedure. Attention will be given to the concept of a Middleton inquest and when such a procedure may be appropriate. The podcast will also address the current practical difficulty in making the investigation procedure effective while skirting around the attribution of blame to a criminal or civil standard and the challenges facing coroners when directing juries in this regard.

After completing the course you will:
  • Be aware of what features an inquest must have to be Article 2 compliant and what practical consquences flow from this for State authorties;
  • Understand the scope of an Article 2 compliant inquest and to what degree a Middleton-style inquest will be required;
  • Understand the scope of a 'Middleton-style' inquest;
  • Understand the purpose of a 'Middleton-style' inquest;
  • Be aware of the difficulties posed by the restrictions on the scope of an inquest imposed by Rule 42 Coroners Rules 1984;
  • Understand to what extent an inquest is cabable of attributing blame to a criminal or civil standard;
  • Be aware of the extent to which a coroner is allowed a free hand when directing a jury;
  • Be aware of the issues in showing causation between the matter causing the death and the jury's findings regarding the circumstances of the death;
  • Understand the impact Article 2 has had on the rights of the family of a deceased to be involved in the inquest process.
Complex Difficulty: 4 of 5
Case Update
Legal Principles
Sources and References:
  • ECHR Article 2;
  • Human Rights Act 1998;
  • Savage v South Essex Partnership NHS Trust [2009] 1 AC 681;
  • R (on the application of JL) v Secretary of State [2009] 1 AC 588;
  • R (on the application of Hurst) v HM Coroner [2007] 2 AC 189 R (Smith) v HM Coroner [2009] 3 WLR 1099;
  • R (on the application of Takoushis) v HM Coroner [2006] 1 WLR 461;
  • R (on the application of Middleton) v HM Coroner [2004] 2 AC 182;
  • R (on the application of Lewis) v Coroner for Mid and North Shropshire [2009] EWCA Civ 1403;
  • Coroners Rules (SI 1984/552) r42, 43;
  • Kakoulli v Turkey (2007) 45 EHRR 12;
  • R (on the application of Lewis) v HM Coroner for Mid and North Shropshire (2010) The Times 11;
  • Ramsahai v Netherlands (2008) 46 EHRR 4;
  • R (on the application of Saunders) v IPCC [2009] 1 All ER 379.

This podcast with Hugh Southey QC looks at the ways in which the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Article 2 of the ECHR (the right to life) impacts upon the State's obligation to provide appropriate legal mechanisms to investigate deaths.

Podcast: 14/05/10

Podcast last reviewed: 2012-02-27

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