Case of European Court of Human Rights, December 17, 1996 (case Saunders v. the United Kingdom)

Resolution Date:December 17, 1996

Violation of Art. 6-1 Pecuniary damage - claim dismissed Non-pecuniary damage - finding of violation sufficient Costs and expenses partial award - Convention proceedings


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

December 1996

Saunders v. the United Kingdom - 19187/91

Judgment 17.12.1996 [GC]

Article 6

Criminal proceedings

Article 6-1

Fair hearing

[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: the right not to incriminate oneself

Complaint confined to use of statements obtained by inspectors during criminal proceedings against applicant. Article 6 § 1 not applicable to proceedings before inspectors.

The right not to incriminate oneself lies at the heart of a fair procedure and applies to all types of criminal proceedings. It is primarily concerned with respecting the will of an accused person to remain silent.

Applicant had been legally compelled to give statements to inspectors - whether or not there was an unjustifiable infringement of his right not to incriminate himself depends on the use made of those statements by the prosecution at trial, even if they were not self‑incriminating.

Prosecution made extensive use of statements in a way which sought to incriminate the applicant - transcripts of statements read out to jury over a three-day period - prosecution sought to use statements to establish applicant's dishonesty and to challenge his credibility. Accordingly, there was an infringement of the applicant's...

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