Case of European Court of Human Rights, May 26, 1993 (case Brannigan and McBride v. the United Kingdom)

Resolution Date:May 26, 1993

Derogation of Art. 5-3 satisfies the requirements of Art. 15 No violation of Art. 5-5 No violation of Art. 13


Information Note on the Court’s case-law No.

May 1993

Brannigan and McBride v. the United Kingdom - 14553/89 and 14554/89

Judgment 26.5.1993

Article 5

Article 5-3

Brought promptly before judge or other officer

Article 15

Article 15-1


Arrest and detention of two suspects under section 12 (1) (b) of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1984: validity of derogation under Article 15 (Northern Ireland)

[This summary is extracted from the Court’s official reports (Series A or Reports of Judgments and Decisions). Its formatting and structure may therefore differ from the Case-Law Information Note summaries.]


The applicants were detained for periods of six days, fourteen hours and thirty minutes, and four days, six hours and twenty-five minutes respectively without being brought before a court. Having regard to Court's Brogan and Others judgment, Article 5 §§ 3 and 5 has not been respected. Examination of validity of Government's derogation called for.

  1.               Court's approach

    It falls to each Contracting State with its responsibility for "the life of [its] nation" to determine whether that life is threatened by a "public emergency" and, if so, how far it is necessary to go in attempting to overcome the emergency. In this matter a wide margin of appreciation should be left to the national authorities. Nevertheless, the domestic margin is accompanied by a European supervision. Court must give appropriate weight to such factors as the nature of the rights affected, the circumstances leading to, and the duration of, the emergency.

  2.               Existence of a public emergency

    Not disputed that there was an emergency. Making its own assessment in the light of all the material before it, Court considers that an emergency existed at relevant time.

  3.               Measures strictly required by the exigencies of the situation

    (a)              General considerations

    Judicial control of deprivation of liberty implied by the rule of law. The notice of derogation was lodged soon after the Court had found the United Kingdom to be in breach of Article 5 § 3 in Brogan and Others. Derogation to be scrutinised against this background.

    (b)              Was the derogation a genuine response to the emergency

    Following Brogan and Others, the Government were faced with the option of either introducing judicial control or lodging a derogation. The derogation being linked to the persistence...

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