ECHR ruling on Gillan and Quinton

Chairwoman Hautala welcomed the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights on 12 January in the case of Gillan and Quinton V the United Kingdom where the Court ruled that section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 violates the right to respect for private life guaranteed by Article 8 of the Convention on Human Rights. [:]The section had guaranteed to the police a broad police power for stop and search without suspicion. The court held that the powers of stop and search are neither sufficiently circumscribed nor subject to adequate legal safeguards against abuse and that they are not therefore “in accordance with the law”. In September 2003 the two claimants were subjected to lengthy stop and search when they tried to attend a demonstration in London and in the end they were unable to take part. After parliamentary questions it emerged that in 2001 the whole of Greater London had been secretly designated for regular stop and search without suspicion. This arbitrary measure has undermined people’s right to privacy and protest while eroded race equality, Chairwoman states. “I welcome the clear pronunciation of the Court that section 44 constitutes a violation of most fundamental human rights. This is a great day for civil liberties and I now expect the government to respond accordingly”.