IPRT - Irish Penal Reform Trust

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European Court of Human Rights Decision in Hirst v. UK (2005)

6th October 2005

A ruling from the European Court of Human Rights today gave British prisoners the right to vote, upholding a March 2004 decision of the Court.

The Strasbourg's court's decision means that legal changes will need to be made to give prisoners the option to cast their vote in future national and regional elections.

The challenge - contested by the British government - was mounted by John Hirst while he was serving a life sentence in Rye Hill prison, Warwickshire.

The UK Government appealed the 2004 decision to a 17-judge Grand Chamber of the Strasbourg court, but it also backed Mr Hirst. 

The Court's decision in Hirst V. UK (2005) is attached.