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Human Rights Act Success Stories Discussed

By Associate, Clinical & Medical Negligence

Human Rights are having a moment. It is wonderful to finally see so much positive publicity for the Human Rights Act, with people from different walks of life speaking out about how it has helped them.  

One incredible driving force behind the spread of vital information about the Act is the brilliant Rights Info, which is run by Human Rights lawyer and blogger, Adam Wagner, and his team. This is a user-friendly, colourful website that tells you everything you need to know with handy infographics and manageable-sized case stories.

The website is making huge strides in raising public awareness and understanding. I am a big fan of what they’re doing and have been recommending it to clients, colleagues and friends – whether or not they are lawyers.

Rights Info has been counting down the 50 most important Human Rights cases, and we’re pleased to see the case of Melanie Rabone make the top 20.

The Rabone case was conducted by Slater and Gordon Principal Lawyer Gill Edwards, who represented Mr and Mrs Rabone, the Claimants (and Appellants in the Supreme Court).

The Rabone Case and the Human Rights Act

For those that don’t know the Rabone case, Melanie Rabone was a much loved 24-year-old suffering from a depressive disorder.

Melanie was a voluntary psychiatric patient in 2005 and received negligent care that no reasonable doctor would support. She was known to be a high suicide risk but was allowed to leave hospital, despite her parents’ concerns, and later sadly hanged herself and died.

The case is widely viewed as a landmark Supreme Court judgment for the rights of mental health patients. It extended the duty of public bodies (under the “Right to Life”) to positively protect patients from suicide – regardless of whether those patients were detained under section or admitted voluntarily, like Melanie.

Melanie Rabone’s case also importantly recognised that UK law did not provide her parents with adequate redress for the loss of their daughter, and so they should be considered “Victims” under the Human Rights Act and entitled to receive an additional remedy.

This was a gap in UK law that the Human Rights Act filled.

Sarah Jones is a Human Rights Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK.

For more information or a free consultation with a Human Rights Lawyer call us 24/7 on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online.