Austin and another v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2009]

  • Created by: channyx
  • Created on: 20-03-20 14:19

When deciding whether a confinement or a restriction of movement imposed on an individual by a public authority was a deprivation of liberty for the purposes of the European Convention on Human Rights 1950 art.5(1), the purpose of the confinement or restriction and the authority's intentions in imposing it ranked very high in the circumstances to be taken into account in reaching the decision. In the instant case, the imposition of a cordon by police in an unusually difficult crowd control exercise with the intention of avoiding injury and damage had not violated art.5.

The appellant demonstrator (X) appealed against a decision that she had not been deprived of her liberty under the European Convention on Human Rights 1950 art.5(1) when she had been detained within a police cordon for seven hours as part of crowd control measures.

X had taken part in a huge demonstration in central London. Approximately 3,000 people had congregated in an area that was already busy with traffic and shoppers. The police had deliberately not been informed and the demonstration had therefore taken them by surprise. The police had spontaneously decided that if they were to prevent violence, injury and damage, their only course of action was to impose an absolute cordon around the entire crowd and then to organise a controlled dispersal. The dispersal had not been completed for several hours because of the conduct of protesters. The judge at first instance had held that although X had been deprived of her liberty, the containment was capable of being justified under art.5(1) because the sole purpose of the cordon had been to maintain public order and it had been a proportionate measure. The…


No comments have yet been made