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Life and Death

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Chapter Summary

Suicidal behaviour is considered to be a symptom of a mental health problem. Mental disability and death are related by grossly elevated mortality rates in some psychiatric or social care institutions. The ECHR's provision on 'right to life' is engaged if a State takes inadequate measures to prevent a death in a psychiatric or social care institution. It is also engaged when a State fails adequately to investigate deaths within institutions. These two major topics are the focus of this chapter. The chapter also focuses on the requirements imposed by the ECHR when a death occurs. The ECHR, through Article 2, specifies the State obligation to prevent deaths. Implicit in the obligation to investigate deaths is the requirement of promptness and reasonable expedition. In order to comply with the requirements of Article 2, an investigation into a death must have powers to compel witnesses to give evidence.

Keywords: death; ECHR requirements; life; mental disability; suicide



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