Taking life and liberty seriously: reconsidering criminal liability under Article 2 of the ECHR

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Colleges, School and Institutes


What is the relationship between the right to life and criminal liability, and what should it be, given the significance we rightly attribute both to human life and to human freedom? This article explores the circumstances in which the European Court of Human Rights imposes a positive obligation to criminalise and pursue criminal forms of redress, and concludes that the Court’s doctrine carries the potential of both coercive overreach and dilution of the right to life itself. These problems are compounded by opacity in the Court’s doctrine. I propose a way forward that takes both the right to life and human freedom seriously.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1026–1051
JournalModern Law Review
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2017


  • human rights law, criminalisation, redress, right to life, Da Silva v UK, rule of law

ASJC Scopus subject areas