Findlay v. United Kingdom

24 E.H.R.R. 221 (1997)

From our private database of 45,900+ case briefs, written and edited by humans—never with AI.

Findlay v. United Kingdom

European Court of Human Rights
24 E.H.R.R. 221 (1997)

Facts

British soldier Lance-Sergeant Alexander Findlay (plaintiff) had combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While drunk, Findlay threatened to kill himself, held two members of his military unit at gunpoint, and shot a television. Major General Robert Corbett was the convening officer who issued the charges against Findlay and convened a court-martial. Corbett also helped appoint the court-martial’s five deciding members. All five members were subordinate to Corbett in rank, and some of the members were directly under Corbett’s command. In addition, Corbett appointed the prosecuting and defending officers. Because the convening officer was also the confirming authority, Corbett could either confirm or unilaterally alter any sentence that the court-martial issued to Findlay. A judge advocate was appointed to the court-martial to determine the law, but some of this legal advice was given in secret. At trial, Findlay pleaded guilty. Findlay’s attorney asked for leniency based on Findlay’s PTSD, requesting a quiet discharge when Findlay’s service ended in a few months. Instead, without providing any reasons, the court-martial members sentenced Findlay to two years in prison, lowered his rank, and dismissed him from service early, harming his pension entitlement. Corbett confirmed the sentence, also without explanation. Although Findlay’s sentence was reviewed, the reviews were conducted (1) behind closed doors and (2) by people with no legal training who relied on the recommendation of the same judge advocate who had handled the court-martial. The secretive reviews affirmed Findlay’s sentence. Findlay lodged a complaint with the European Commission of Human Rights (commission), arguing that the court-martial proceedings had violated the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (convention). The commission found that the proceedings violated the convention because the proceedings had not been conducted by an independent and impartial tribunal. The United Kingdom (defendant) appealed to the European Court of Human Rights.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

Concurrence (De Meyer, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 734,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.

    Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.

    Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee

Here's why 734,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 45,900 briefs, keyed to 984 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership
Here's why 734,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
  • Reliable - written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students
  • The right length and amount of information - includes the facts, issue, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents
  • Access in your class - works on your mobile and tablet
  • 45,900 briefs - keyed to 984 casebooks
  • Uniform format for every case brief
  • Written in plain English - not in legalese and not just repeating the court's language
  • Massive library of related video lessons - and practice questions
  • Top-notch customer support

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership