Case of European Court of Human Rights, February 08, 1996 (case John Murray v. the United Kingdom)

Resolution Date:February 08, 1996

No violation of Art. 6-1 No violation of Art. 6-2 Violation of Art. 6-1+6-3-c Not necessary to examine Art. 14+6 Pecuniary damage - finding of violation sufficient Non-pecuniary damage - finding of violation sufficient Costs and expenses partial award - Convention proceedings


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

February 1996

John Murray v. the United Kingdom - 18731/91

Judgment 8.2.1996 [GC]

Article 6

Article 6-1

Fair hearing

Article 6-2

Presumption of innocence

Drawing of inferences from applicant's silence: no violation

Article 6-3-c

Defence through legal assistance

Access to lawyer during the first 48 hours of detention: violation

[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.]


A. Article 6 §§ 1 and 2: the right to silence

The right to remain silent under police questioning and the privilege against self-incrimination are generally recognised international standards which lie at the heart of a fair procedure under Article 6.

Whether adverse inferences infringe Article 6 falls to be determined in the light of all the circumstances of the case, having particular regard to the situations where inferences may be drawn, the weight attached to them by national courts in their assessment of the evidence and the degree of compulsion inherent in the situation.

In present case, silence was not a criminal offence and applicant was able to remain silent throughout proceedings. Also, the drawing of inferences was subject to important safeguards. In particular, only common-sense inferences could be drawn where the evidence against the accused was such that it "called" for an answer.

The evidence presented at trial constituted a formidable case against the applicant. Thus the drawing of inferences was not unfair or unreasonable.

Conclusion: no violation (fourteen votes to five).

B. Access to lawyer

Article 6 § 3 may be relevant before a case is sent for trial if and so far as the fairness of the trial is likely to be seriously prejudiced by an initial failure to comply. But depends on the special features of the proceedings involved and the circumstances of the case.


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