On appeal from: [2010] NICA 10

The appellants were next of kin of Martin McCaughey and Dessie Grew, who were shot dead by members of the British Army in 1990. They believed that the men were victims of a “shoot to kill” policy. The appellants sought a declaration that the scope of the inquest into the deaths should comply with the ECHR, art 2 and thereby to an examination of the planning and control of the operation that led to the deaths. The issue was whether the appellants were entitled to bring a domestic claim under the Human Rights Act 1998, which came into force on 2 Oct 2000. The Supreme Court by a majority allowed the appeal and held that the Coroner must comply with the procedural obligation under art 2. It was apparent that, as a matter of international obligation, the UK had to ensure that the inquest complied with art 2 as far as it was possible under domestic law. It was agreed that there was no right in domestic law to an art 2 compliant inquest in respect of deaths which occurred prior to 2 Oct 2000; however, the majority decided that where the state had decided to hold an inquest into such a death, that inquest must comply with art 2.

For judgment, please download: [2011] UKSC 20
For the Court’s press summary, please download: Press Summary