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Today in legal history...

Thursday, June 30, 2011

UK Supreme Court ruled no rights protections for soldiers abroad
Dwyer Arce at 12:00 AM ET

On June 30, 2010, the UK Supreme Court ruled that the 1998 Human Rights Act, which incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) into UK law, does not apply to armed forces on foreign soil and that a soldier's family does not have an automatic right to an investigation into cause of death in the battlefield. The case involved Private Jason Smith, who died of heat stroke in Iraq after making several complaints to his commanding officers. Smith's mother filed suit against the government, claiming that the UK owed her son a duty to respect his right to life, which was protected by Article 2 of the ECHR, and that the government must launch an investigation into the alleged breach of that right. The UK Court of Appeal held that Smith had been protected by the Human Rights Act at all times and ordered a new investigation. The Supreme Court overruled the decision, holding that the act does not extend to troop operations abroad.

UK coat of arms

Learn more about the UK Supreme Court and the ECHR from the JURIST news archive.

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