Jones v UK

JUSTICE intervened jointly with Amnesty International, INTERIGHTS, Human Rights Watch and Redress in this case. The European Court of Human Rights handed down their judgment on 14 January 2014.

The claim involved four UK nationals who attempted to bring proceedings in the domestic courts against Saudi Arabia and its officials, seeking redress for their alleged torture in Saudi Arabia.  They were denied access to justice in the UK, as their claims were deemed non-justiciable as a result of the application of immunity (See Jones v Saudi Arabia [2006] UKHL 26).  The joint interveners also made submissions before the House of Lords.  We were represented pro-bono by Keir Starmer QC, Peter Morris and Laura Dubinsky and by Bhatt Murphy).  Our submissions before the European Court of Human Rights argued:

  • The absolute prohibition of torture enjoys a special status under international law and gives rise to a positive obligation to provide an effective remedy and full and adequate reparation to victims of torture, including access to a court
  • The only immunity available to the officials in these cases is subject matter immunity; the State is not impleaded in cases against officials in which torture is alleged
  • Subject matter immunity does not apply in cases where torture is alleged
  • The application of such immunity to cases involving allegations of torture does not pursue a legitimate aim and the restriction on access to a court is disproportionate, taking into account a number of factors, including the special status of torture and the lack of alternative means of redress in the foreign state, including by way of diplomatic protection.

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Read the European Court of Human Right’s judgment.

Read  interveners’ submissions to ECtHR

Read interveners’ submissions to House of Lords

Read the JUSTICE / Amnesty/ REDRESS / INTERIGHTS Jones press release.