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T. v. / V. v. the United Kingdom

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image of Human Rights Case Digest

This was the first case in which the Court had to examine how the guarantees of the right of an accused to participate effectively in a criminal trial should apply to proceedings against children, and in particular whether procedures which are generally considered to safeguard the rights of adults on trial, such as publicity, should be abrogated in respect of children in order to promote their understanding and participation. It considered it essential that a child charged with an offence should be dealt with in a manner which took full account of his age, level of maturity and intellectual and emotional capacities, and that steps were taken to promote his ability to understand and participate in the proceedings. In respect of a young child charged with a grave offence attracting high levels of media and public interest, this could mean that it would be necessary to conduct the hearing in private, so as to reduce as far as possible the child's feelings of intimidation and inhibition, or, where appropriate, to provide for only selected attendance rights and judicious reporting. The setting of a “tariff”, that is the maximum period of time for which a person could be held, by the U.K. Home Secretary, a person not independent of the executive, was a violation of the Convention. The absence of a tariff prevented any possibility of judicial review of the continued lawfulness of detention.


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