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Publication:1997-I, no. 30
Title:Findlay v. The United Kingdom
Application No:22107/93
Respondent:The United Kingdom
Referred by:Commission
Date of reference by Commission:08-12-1995
Date of reference by State:
Date of Judgment:25-02-1997
Conclusion:Violation of article 6-1
Compensation awarded for costs and expenses

This case concerns the independence and the impartiality of a court-martial (Army Act 1955). Pending the proceedings before the Court the United Kingdom had made changes to the legislation at issue. With respect to the new legislation the Court held that it could not rule on legislation in abstracto, but it noted with satisfaction the changes made to the court-martial system by the Armed Forces Act 1996. With respect the applicability of Article 6(1) the Court concluded that this article was clearly applicable since the proceedings involved the determination of a sentence following a guilty plea. On the compliance with the requirements of Article 6(1) the Court held that the convening officer was central to the prosecution and was closely linked to the prosecuting authorities. Inter alia, he decided which charges should be brought, he convened the court-martial, he appointed members of prosecuting and defending officers. The members of the court-martial were all military personnel subordinate in rank to the convening officer who, as confirming officer, could vary the sentence imposed. The defects could not be corrected by subsequent review proceedings since the applicant was entitled to the first instance tribunal meeting requirements of Article 6(1). The Court concluded that there had been a violation.

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Last Modified: 13-01-2014 16:18:19 (Documentation SIM)