N. V. UNITED KINGDOM 26565/05,  ECHR 746 (26 September) (European Court of Human Rights 2007)
EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Press release issued by the Registrar
GRAND CHAMBER HEARING
N. v. THE UNITED KINGDOM
The European Court of Human Rights is holding a Grand Chamber hearing today Wednesday 26 September 2007 at 9 a.m. (local time), in the Human Rights building, Strasbourg, on the admissibility and merits in the case of N. v. the United Kingdom(application no.<font< b=""></font<> FACE="Times New (W1), serif"> 26565/05).
The hearing will be broadcast from 2.30 p.m. on the Court’s Internet site http://www.echr.coe.int.
The case concerns an application brought by N., a Ugandan national who was born in 1974 and lives in Clapham (London).
Summary of the facts
She entered the United Kingdom on 28 March 1998 under an assumed name. She was seriously ill, and was admitted to hospital.
On 31 March 1998 solicitors lodged an asylum application on her behalf, claiming that she had been ill-treated and raped by the National Resistance Movement in Uganda because of her association with the Lord’s Resistance Army, and asserting that she was in fear of her life and safety if she were returned.
By November 1998, the applicant was diagnosed as having two AIDS defining illnesses, and as being extremely advanced from an HIV point of view; her CD4 count was 20 cells/mm³, reflecting considerable immunosuppression. The report stated that, without active treatment, her prognosis was “appalling” and put her life expectancy at less than 12 months should she be forced to return to Uganda, where there was “no prospect of her getting adequate therapy”.
The Secretary of State refused the asylum claim on 28 March 2001, finding that her claims were not credible, that there was no evidence that the Ugandan authorities were interested in the applicant and that treatment of AIDS in Uganda was comparable to any other African country, and all the major anti-viral drugs were available in Uganda at highly subsidised prices. The applicant appealed.
On 10 July 2002 her appeal was dismissed concerning the asylum refusal, but allowed in relation to Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Secretary of State appealed against the Article 3 finding, contending that all the AIDS drugs available under the National Health Service in the United Kingdom could also be obtained locally in Uganda, and most were also available at a reduced price through UN-funded projects and from bilateral AIDS donor funded programmes. The applicant’s return would not, therefore, be to a “complete absence of medical treatment”, and so would not subject her to “acute physical and mental suffering”. The Immigration Appeal Tribunal allowed the appeal on 29 November 2002 and found: “Medical treatment is available in Uganda for the [applicant’s] condition even though the Tribunal accept that the level of medical provision in Uganda falls below that in the United Kingdom.”
The applicant appealed unsuccessfully to the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords.
The applicant maintains that to return her to Uganda would cause her suffering and early death amounting to inhuman and degrading treatment. She relies on Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The application was lodged with the European Court of Human Rights on 22 July 2005. On 22 May 2007 the Chamber relinquished jurisdiction in favour of the Grand Chamber.
Composition of the Court
The case will be heard by the Grand Chamber composed as follows:
Jean-Paul Costa (French), President,
Nicolas Bratza (British),
Boštjan M. Zupančič (Slovenian),
Peer Lorenzen (Danish),
Françoise Tulkens (Belgian),
Giovanni Bonello (Maltese)
Ireneu Cabral Barreto (Portuguese),
Josep Casadevall (Andorran),
Rait Maruste (Estonian),
Snejana Botoucharova (Bulgarian),
Stanislav Pavlovschi (Moldovan),
Javier Borrego Borrego (Spanish),
Khanlar Hajiyev (Azerbaijani),
Ljiljana Mijović (citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina),
Dean Spielmann (Luxemburger),
Renate Jaeger (German),
Mark Villiger (Swiss)1, judges,
Ján Šikuta (Slovakian),
Dragoljub Popović (Serbian), substitute judges,
and also Michael O’Boyle, Deputy Registrar.
Representatives of the parties
Government: John Grainger, Agent,
Monica Carss-Frisk, Tim Eicke, Counsel,
Claire Adams, Peter Deller, Linda Stowe, Advisers;
Applicant: David Pannick, Rick Scannell, Counsel,
Jawaid Luqmani, Adviser.
After the hearing the Court will begin its deliberations, which are held in private. A decision on admissibility, followed if appropriate by a judgment, will be delivered at a later date2.
Emma Hellyer (telephone: 00 33 (0)3 90 21 42 15)
Stéphanie Klein (telephone: 00 33 (0)3 88 41 21 54)
Tracey Turner-Tretz (telephone: 00 33 (0)3 88 41 35 30)
Paramy Chanthalangsy (telephone: 00 33 (0)3 90 21 54 91)
The European Court of Human Rights was set up in Strasbourg by the Council of Europe Member States in 1959 to deal with alleged violations of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights.
1 Judge elected in respect of Liechtenstein.
2 This summary by the Registry does not bind the Court.