Judgment (Merits) of European Court of Human Rights, August 30, 1990 (case CASE OF FOX, CAMPBELL AND HARTLEY v. THE UNITED KINGDOM)

Resolution Date:August 30, 1990

Violation of Art. 5-1 No violation of Art. 5-2 Violation of Art. 5-5 Not necessary to examine Art. 5-4 and 13 Just satisfaction reserved




(Application no. 12244/86; 12245/86; 12383/86)



30 August 1990

In the case of Fox, Campbell and Hartley[],

The European Court of Human Rights, sitting, in accordance with Article 43 (art. 43) of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms ("the Convention") and the relevant provisions of the Rules of Court, as a Chamber composed of the following judges:

             Mr               R. Ryssdal, President,

             Mr               J. Cremona,

             Mr               J. Pinheiro Farinha,

             Sir               Vincent Evans,

             Mr               R. Bernhardt,

             Mr               S.K. Martens,

             Mrs               E. Palm,

and also of Mr M.-A. Eissen, Registrar, and Mr H. Petzold, Deputy Registrar,

Having deliberated in private on 29 March and 26 June 1990,

Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on the last-mentioned date:


1.   The case was brought before the Court by the European Commission of Human Rights ("the Commission") on 13 July 1989, within the three-month period laid down by Article 32 § 1 and Article 47 (art. 32-1, art. 47) of the Convention. It originated in three applications (nos. 12244/86, 12245/86 and 12383/86) against the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland lodged with the Commission under Article 25 (art. 25) of the Convention on 16 June 1986 by Mr Bernard Fox and Ms Maire Campbell and on 2 September 1986 by Mr Samuel Hartley, who are all three Irish citizens.

The Commission’s request referred to Articles 44 and 48 (art. 44, art. 48) and to the declaration whereby the United Kingdom recognised the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court (Article 46) (art. 46). The object of the request was to obtain a decision from the Court as to whether the facts of the case disclosed a breach by the respondent State of its obligations under Articles 5 and 13 (art. 5, art. 13) of the Convention.

2.   In response to the enquiry made in accordance with Rule 33 § 3 (d) of the Rules of Court, the applicants stated that they wished to take part in the proceedings and designated the lawyer who would represent them (Rule 30).

3.   The Chamber to be constituted included ex officio Sir Vincent Evans, the elected judge of British nationality (Article 43 of the Convention) (art. 43), and Mr R. Ryssdal, the President of the Court (Rule 21 § 3 (b)). On 23 August 1989, in the presence of the Registrar, the President drew by lot the names of the other five members, namely Mr J. Cremona, Mr J. Pinheiro Farinha, Mr R. Macdonald, Mr S.K. Martens and Mrs E. Palm (Article 43 in fine of the Convention and Rule 21 § 4) (art. 43). Subsequently, Mr R. Bernhardt, substitute judge, replaced Mr Macdonald, who was unable to take part in the consideration of the case (Rule 24 § 1).

4.   Mr Ryssdal assumed the office of President of the Chamber (Rule 21 § 5) and, through the Registrar, consulted the Agent of the United Kingdom Government ("the Government"), the Delegate of the Commission and the representative of the applicants on the need for a written procedure (Rule 37 § 1). Thereafter, in accordance with the orders and directions of the President, the registry received the Government’s memorial on 19 December 1989, the applicants’ memorial on 10 January 1990, the appendices to that memorial two days later and the applicants’ claims for just satisfaction under Article 50 (art. 50) of the Convention on 9 March 1990.

By letter received on 8 February 1990 the Secretary to the Commission advised the Registrar that the Delegate did not propose to file a memorial in reply.

5.   After consulting, through the Registrar, those who would be appearing before the Court, the President directed on 21 December 1989 that the oral proceedings should open on 26 March 1990 (Rule 38).

6.   The hearing took place in public in the Human Rights Buildings, Strasbourg, on the appointed day. The Court had held a preparatory meeting beforehand.

There appeared before the Court.

- for the Government

             Mr M. Wood, Legal Counsellor,

                                         Foreign and Commonwealth Office,               Agent,

             Mr B. Kerr, Q.C.,

             Mr N. Bratza, Q.C.,               Counsel;

- for the Commission

             Mr C. Rozakis,               Delegate;

- for the applicants

             Mr R. Weir, Q.C.,

             Mr S. Treacy, Barrister-at-Law,               Counsel,

             Mr P. Madden, Solicitor.

The Court heard addresses by Mr Kerr for the Government, by Mr Rozakis for the Commission and by Mr Weir for the applicants, as well as their replies to its questions.

7.   On the occasion of the hearing and on various dates thereafter a number of documents were filed by the applicants and the Government relating to the costs and expenses claimed under Article 50 (art. 50) of the Convention.



A.  As regards Mr Fox and Mrs Campbell

8.   The first and second applicants, Mr Bernard Fox and Ms Maire Campbell, are husband and wife but separated. Both reside in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

9.   On 5 February 1986 they were stopped by the police in Belfast and brought to Woodbourne Royal Ulster Constabulary ("RUC") station, where a full search of the vehicle in which they were travelling was carried out. Twenty-five minutes after their arrival at the police station, at 3.40 p.m., they were formally arrested under section 11 (1) of the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978 ("the 1978 Act"; see paragraph 16 below). They were informed that they were being arrested under this section and that this was because the arresting officer suspected them of being terrorists. They were also told that they could be detained for up to 72 hours. They were taken to Castlereagh Police Office, where they were separately interviewed by the police on the same day between 8.15 p.m. and 10.00 p.m.

10.   During their detention Mr Fox and Ms Campbell were asked about their suspected involvement that day in intelligence gathering and courier work for the Provisional Irish Republican Army ("Provisional IRA"). They were also questioned about their suspected membership of this organisation. According to the Government, the information underlying the suspicion against them was already known to the police when they stopped their car.

No charges were brought against either applicant. The first applicant was released at 11.40 a.m. on 7 February 1986 and the second applicant five minutes later. Excluding the time taken to bring them to the police station, the first applicant had thus been detained 44 hours and the second applicant 44 hours and 5 minutes.

11.   On being arrested both Mr Fox and Ms Campbell were shown the notice drawn up for persons held in police custody which explained their rights. They were not brought before a judge or given any opportunity to apply for release on bail. On 6 February they both initiated proceedings for habeas corpus but were released before the applications came on for hearing before a judge.

12.   Mr Fox had been convicted in 1979 of several explosives offences, for which he received concurrent sentences of 12 years’ imprisonment, and of belonging to the IRA, for which he received a concurrent sentence of 5 years. Ms Campbell received an 18 months’ suspended sentence in 1979 after being convicted of involvement in explosives offences.

B.  As regards Mr Hartley

13.   The third applicant, Mr Samuel Hartley, resides in Waterfoot, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. On 18 August 1986 he was arrested at his home, in his parents’ presence, at 7.55 a.m. He was informed at the time of his arrest that he was being arrested under section 11 (1) of the 1978 Act as he was suspected of being a terrorist. He was taken to Antrim police station where, on arrival, he was shown a copy of the notice for persons held in police custody. He was interviewed there by the police between 11.05 a.m. and 12.15 p.m.

14.   Mr Hartley was suspected of involvement in a kidnapping incident which had taken place earlier that month in Ballymena when a young man and woman were forcibly taken away by masked armed men. Those involved in the kidnapping were thought to have connections with the Provisional IRA. The motive behind the kidnapping was believed to have been an attempt to force the young woman to retract an allegation of rape made the previous year as a result of which a person had been convicted and sentenced to 3 years’ imprisonment. The Government said at the Commission hearing that their record of the first interview with Mr Hartley showed that he was questioned about terrorist activities in a specific small, geographical area, and about his involvement with the Provisional IRA. The record is not more detailed than that, but the area in question was where the kidnapping took place. The applicant Hartley denied any involvement in the kidnapping incident but he has not contradicted the Government’s assertion that he was asked about it.

No charges were brought against him. He was released on 19 August 1986 at 2.10 p.m. after 30 hours and 15 minutes in detention. He brought no proceedings in connection with his arrest or detention.


A.  Introduction

15.   For the past 20 years the population of Northern Ireland, which totals 1.5 million people, has been subjected to a campaign of terrorism (see the Ireland v. the United Kingdom judgment of 18 January 1978, Series A no. 25, pp. 9-31, §§ 11-77, and the Brogan and Others judgment of 29 November 1988, Series A no. 145-B, p. 21, § 25). More than 2,750 people, including almost 800 members of the security forces, have been killed and 31,900 more have been maimed or injured. The campaign of terror has extended to the rest of the United Kingdom and to the mainland of Europe.


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