- Howard DavisHoward DavisReader in Public Law, Bournemouth University
Without assuming prior legal knowledge, books in the Directions series introduce and guide readers through key points of law and legal debate. It discusses European Convention law and relates it to domestic law under the HRA. Questions, discussion points and thinking points help readers to engage fully with each subject and check their understanding as they progress and knowledge can be tested by self-test questions and exam questions at the chapter end. This chapter focuses on Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which imposes on the state the general duty of protecting ‘everyone’s right to life’. Article 2 specifically states that the first duty of states is to protect the physical security of all those within their jurisdiction. It describes the only purposes for which failures to protect life, including where there are deaths resulting from the intentional use of force, can be lawfully justified. In interpreting and applying Article 2, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has identified and developed a number of general principles to which the domestic laws of signatory states must adhere- in particular the duty to investigate deaths for which the state is responsible. These principles are discussed in detail in the chapter.