Human Rights Case Studies

Keeping elderly couples together

By Counsel and Care On 08/06/2011

Mr V contacted Counsel and Care when social services threatened to move his wife into a care home which was some distance from the family. Mrs V has Alzheimer’s and is blind. Mrs V had temporarily moved into a local nursing home after being hurt in a fall. Mr V was also injured in the fall, and unable to care for his wife at home. Social services decided Mrs V should be moved to a permanent care home but Mr V disagreed with the home social services chose, because it was too...

Human rights stopping blanket use of Do Not Resuscitate Orders

By POhWER On 17/11/2010

An older man with dementia was admitted to hospital. He was placed on a ward in which every patient had a ‘do not resuscitate’ order placed on their file.

His advocate came to visit him and noticed the DNR, which wasn’t signed by a doctor. She queried it and was told that everyone on the ward had a DNR automatically.

The client was not aware of the DNR and his advocate believed him to have some level of capacity to take the information on board. In...

Human rights protecting family life

By POhWER On 17/11/2010

A man in his early 30s with severe autism had been in the care of his foster mum since the age of two. She also fostered babies with learning difficulties. A baby died in her care and this was investigated by the authorities.

During the investigation the man was placed in respite care, without any formal procedures being followed. His foster mum was prevented from visiting him. After a number of calls she was told she could bring him a present on his birthday, but when she turned...

Human rights: empowering individuals!

Person involved in the human rights and older people's project

“Anything you do for any section of society, like older people, can benefit everyone”– Hackney group participant


BIHR and Age UK are currently working on an ‘Older People and Human Rights’ project. Three pilot groups have been given human rights training sessions: a group in Stockport campaigning on access to public toilets, a group in Hackney lobbying to protect the Human Rights Act, and a group in Derbyshire making a DVD....

Using the Human Rights Act to challenge failure to provide adequate community care services

By Scope On 02/03/2010
Image of a gavel and scales

In R (on the application of Bernard) v Enfield London Borough Council (2002), the failure by the council to provide suitably adapted accommodation for the applicant and her family amounted to a violation of her Article 8 rights under the Human Rights Act 1998.


Mrs Bernard and her family lived in a property in the London Borough of Enfield. Mrs Bernard was severely disabled, had limited mobility which required her to use a wheelchair. Assessments of Mrs Bernard...

Using the Human Rights Act to protect the right to protest

By Liberty On 02/03/2010

Five protesters held a peaceful protest during the Queen's visit to Wakefield.  Silently, they held up posters demanding fair pensions for all.  They were arrested and held at the police station for 5 hours.  Liberty obtained damages for wrongful arrest and false imprisonment because the arrests were a disproportionate interference with the protesters' Article 10 rights (peaceful protest)

Using the Human Rights Act to challenge restrictions on freedom

By Liberty On 02/03/2010

On behalf of F, a 14 year old boy, Liberty brought a challenge to the police’s power, in designated areas, to take young people under the age of 16 home if they were out after 9 p.m.  Among other arguments, Liberty relied on F’s rights under Articles 5, 8 and 14 (rights to liberty, respect for the person and right not to be discriminated against).  The Government conceded that the power could only be used against those engaged in anti-social behaviour and not against...

Using the Human Rights Act to protect worker

By Liberty On 02/03/2010

C was sacked from her job in airport security after she was refused counter-terrorism clearance. She had no idea why she might be thought to be a risk and was not given any reasons. Liberty took judicial review proceedings relying, among other arguments, on Article 6 (right to a fair hearing).  During the case, it became obvious that the decision to sack her was made on flimsy grounds. The Department of Transport conceded that the process was flawed and paid C compensation. It has...

Using the Human Rights to protect a patient in hospital

By Liberty On 02/03/2010

A has cerebral palsy. Because of the risk that he might choke on his food, the NHS trust responsible for his care refused to allow his carers to feed him orally. Instead he was fed through a tube directly into his stomach.  Despite the risk he wished to be able on occasions to eat normally and to enjoy his food. Relying on Article 8 (respect for the person) Liberty persuaded a specially established ethical panel to agree to his request.  

Learning disabled couple use the Human Rights Act to challenge CCTVs placed in their bedroom

By ATD Fourth World On 06/02/2010
CCTV Camera

A learning disabled couple were living in a residential assessment centre so their parenting skills could be assessed by the local social services department.

CCTV cameras were installed including in their bedroom.

Social workers explained that the cameras were there to observe them performing their parental duties and for the protection of their baby. However, the couple were especially distressed by use of the CCTV cameras in their bedroom during the night.