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Al-Skeini v. Secretary of State for Defence

House of Lords
[2007] UKHL 26


Six Iraqi civilians were killed in Basra. One was killed allegedly due to maltreatment inflicted by members of the British armed forces. Al-Skeini (plaintiff), a close relative of one of the deceased, as well as other close relatives of the deceased brought suit against the Secretary of State for Defence (defendant) in the High Court of London seeking to challenge the Secretary’s refusal to order an independent inquiry into the circumstances of this maltreatment and the deaths of these Iraqi civilians, as well as his subsequent rejection of liability for the deaths such that the claimants cannot have redress against him. The claimants based their claims on the Human Rights Act 1998 (the HRA). To successfully state a claim under the HRA, a claimant must show that a public authority has acted in a manner that is incompatible with a Convention right of the claimant or the deceased as defined by the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). This is a multi-step process. First, the claimant must show that his complaint falls within the scope of the ECHR. If successful on this first requirement, the claimant must then show that his claims, although falling within the scope of the ECHR, also fall within the scope of the HRA.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Lord Bingham of Cornhill)

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