Osman v UK
A leading case in human rights law. This case involved a tragic set of circumstances in which the obsessive former teacher of a 15 year old boy, ultimately wounded his pupil and killed the boy's father. The applicants had demonstrated that in the months before the fatal attack the police had been given information that should have made clear the extent of the danger of assault. Despite such information being made available to the police the suspect's home had not been searched, nor had any special measures been put in place to protect the Osman family.
The High court, Court of Appeal and the House of Lords agreed that Metropolitan Police owed no duty of care to the Osman family. They confirmed the decision given in Hill v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police (1989). In this case the father of a woman murdered by Peter Sutcliffe attempted to sue Yorkshire police. The family claimed the police missed numerous opportunities to catch the perpetrator of these crimes. The UK courts decided that the police did not owe a duty of care to any individual member of the public. The case was decided on so called public policy grounds meaning that even if the police were at any point negligent in the way in which investigations or protection was provided, public policy would prevent any such case coming to court.
The European court found that that Article 6 of the European convention on Human rights (the family's Right to a Fair Trial ) had been breached. They effectively ordered that this blanket ban should be overturned.
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