Court of Appeal upholds right to damages for imminent breaches of article 3 ECHR

18th April 2024

Ben Amunwa bw e1710167949943

3PB's Ben AmunwaBen AmunwaCall: 2013, who specialises in public law, education and employment, was instructed by Deighton Pierce Glynn (DPG) in this latest chapter of a long-running sequence of cases challenging the “no recourse to public funds” policy. In a judgment with potentially wide implications for damages claims for breaches of fundamental human rights, the Court of Appeal in ASY & Others v Home Office [2024] EWCA Civ 373 has held that there is a right to damages for imminent breaches of article 3 of the ECHR (the absolute prohibition on torture and inhuman or degrading treatment).

The Court overturned the judgment of May J in the High Court (Home Office v ASY & Others [2023] EWHC 196 (KB)) and significantly broadened the test for determining whether article 3 rights have been breached by an administrative system that fails to prevent extreme destitution.

After over 3 years of litigation and two appeals, the claimants have obtained an authoritative judgment on a preliminary issue concerning a novel aspect of human rights law. The outcome may well have wider ramifications for damages claims in cases that concern fundamental human rights, promoting a significantly more liberal approach to liability and the award of (modest) damages in certain circumstances.

Ben Amunwa commenting on the case, said: “The Court’s broadening of the scope of the article 3 systems duty is likely to reinforce the effectiveness of rights protection in the context of destitution and, potentially, well beyond it.”

Ben has produced a detailed briefing on the case, which can be read here.

To access the judgment today from the Court of Appeal, click here.