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Civil Liberties Services

Duncan Lewis Right Legal Solicitors


At Duncan Lewis we have an experienced multi-disciplined team that is ready to stand up for your rights:


  • We frequently win appeals against a vast number of public bodies on the basis of human rights, or have decisions set aside to be made afresh, taking into account the human rights of our clients.
  • We have appealed to European Court of Human Rights, successfully protecting the rights of our clients.
  • We have also assisted many of our clients in bringing claims for damages under the Human Rights Act. (Damages for breaches of human rights are referred to as ‘just satisfaction’ for the breach).
  • We have also brought proceedings seeking a declaration of incompatibility (settled before the final hearing on the basis of a substantial payment of compensation).
  • Our Criminal Defence team specialises in challenging extradition orders based on human rights violations and work very closely with out Mental Health lawyers defending individuals with mental health issues;


Summary of Key Duncan Lewis’ Civil Liberties & Human Rights cases:


Human rights issues can arise in almost any type of case. The following are only a small selection of examples of cases in which Duncan Lewis have acted where human rights were the crucial consideration:


Article 2 – Right to life:


On a day to day basis we represent vulnerable individuals whose life is being threatened through return to their country of claimed persecution. This along with Article 3 forms the main stay of our work, as it is most frequently invoked in these types of cases. However it will also arise in cases relating to absence of medical treatment and care of the vulnerable both, within medical establishments and prisons.



Article 3 – Right not to suffer torture, or inhuman and degrading treatment:


This firm has a long-developed specialism in dealing with Article 3 cases, this often resolves around the whether someone being returned to another country will be tortured. In domestic law, Article 3 is often invoked in relation to degrading treatment and may also relate to levels of care within medical establishments. Article 3 is an absolute right; as such no one may torture or cause another to suffering degrading treatment where the state can prevent it. In domestic law, we represented the Petitioner Limbuela in the House of Lords’ leading case on breaches of Article 3 in the United Kingdom.


SSHD v Limbuela, [2006] 1 AC 396 – Setting the standard for the application of Article 3 to domestic issues regarding homelessness causing inhuman and degrading treatment.


KH (Afghanistan) v SSHD [2009] EWCA Civ 1354 – Reviewing the law in relation to the removal of a national to another country when such a removal in its self would be inhuman and degrading.


S.H.H v The United Kingdom 60367/10 - HEJUD [2013] ECHR 102: Ruling of European Court of Human Rights on returning disabled asylum seekers



Article 4 – Prohibition against slavery and forced labour


These cases are exceptionally rare, however the issue has most recently arisen in relation to cases relating to Work Placement schemes for the long term unemployed, and/or other work schemes that have been put in place. Article 4(1) the prohibition on slavery is an absolute right as such no one may be enslaved for any reason within the United Kingdom, nor may the UK send someone to a place where this may happen.


We have extensive experience defending clients in trafficking cases, in which third country nationals are brought into the United Kingdom for forced labour and/or sexual exploitation. There are specialist procedures in such cases, and we have brought successful challenges in the High Court for failures to give trafficking victims the benefit of these provisions.


Article 5 – Right to Liberty and Security


Article 5 occurs more often than is commonly recognised even by lawyers. As soon as someone stops you in the street, your liberty is being interfered with, if this is a state agent or a state agent was under a duty to stop that detention, a claim can be made. The application will either be to stop that ongoing detention or to receive recognition that historic detention was unlawful.


We have secured the release from unlawful detention of dozens of detainees and prisoners, taking many of those cases forward to successful claims for damages.


R (on the application of Aziz) v SSHD [2011] All ER (D) 237 (Feb); - Release of a detained person held under immigration powers for an exceptionally long period of time.


Suckrajh v The Asylum & Immigration Tribunal & Anor [2011] EWCA Civ 938: Test case: concerning the limitations of the power to detain under the 'fast-track' system for mere administrative convenience. The UNHCR was granted permission to intervene as an Interested Party.


R oao Lamari v SS Home Department [2012] EWHC 1630 - detention following a promise to the Court by the Defendant to release the claimant was unlawful, and contempt of court



Article 6 – Right to fair trial


These cases remain exceptionally rare and will apply mainly in relation to criminal matters. Were the standards fall below those expected, challenges can be made. By way of example in cases were the Magistrates fail to allow evidence to be called in defence, a challenge can be made to that Court directly to the High Court even before a final decision is made.


Ganson v Secretary of State for Justice (High Court - unreported) – refusal to allow a prisoner the opportunity to take legal advice had rendered his trial unfair


Article 7 – No punishment without law


This is an exceptionally rare circumstance where a person is punished without a law proscribing their acts as unlawful.


Article 8 – Right to family and Private Life


This issue is very common in relation to immigration cases were families are being separated by action of immigration law. Article 8 issues happen in domestic incidents, involving the separation of families and or the need of care of the elderly. It is less common to evoke private life, however Duncan Lewis are developing this area, surrounding the right to work, and to pursue your profession.


DT (Eritrea) [2009] EWCA Civ 442 - indicating that permission to work forms part of your day to day life as such cannot be indiscriminately interfered with.


AV v Chief Constable of City of London (Unreported) – Lawfulness of retention of DNA, fingerprints and photos.



Article 9 to 11 – Article 9 - Freedom of thought, conscience and religion, Article 10 – Freedom of Expression, Article 11 - Freedom of Assembly


These are rarely invoked rights within domestic law and often not strong enough to prevent removal under international law. These Articles are often used in conjunction with each other. The Article may often be used by protestors who have their protests restricted and or are prevented from expressing their views on many subjects.


Article 12 – Right to marry


Exceptionally rarely invoked article in relation to the right to men and woman to marry.


Article 14 – Prohibition of Discrimination


This Article must be used in conjunction with one of the other articles and as such is rarely invoked.


Smith v SSHD (unreported) – damages for a UK citizen detained under immigration powers on a discriminatory basis


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