Hatton v. United Kingdom
European Court of Human Rights
App. No. 36022/97, Eur. Ct. H.R. 2003-VIII (2003)
Ruth Hatton (plaintiff) lived near Heathrow Airport. Hatton’s sleep was severely disturbed by the noise caused by planes landing at night. In 1993, the United Kingdom (defendant) introduced a policy regarding night flights based on a 1992 study that found that only about two to three percent of the nearby population was sensitive enough to be affected by flight noise. Hatton brought an action against the United Kingdom, alleging that the 1993 policy increased the nighttime noise by allowing more flights, thus violating Hatton’s Article 8 right to respect for private and family life under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The United Kingdom justified its policy by citing the economic interests of airline operators and the economic interests of the entire country. The United Kingdom also pointed out that house prices in Hatton’s area had not declined due to the noise, and therefore, she was financially able to relocate, which Hatton did in 1997.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Wildhaber, J.)
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