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Retreating From Vinter in Europe: Sacrificing Whole Life Prisoners To Save The Strasbourg Court?

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image of European Journal of Crime, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice

In Vinter and Others v United Kingdom (2013) the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights ruled that existing release mechanisms from a whole life prison sentence in England & Wales contravened Article 3 of the European Convention. Domestically, the defiant legal, and political, response declared the current law as sufficiently clear with no amendments to procedures, or the material governing those procedures, being necessary. In a reversal of the reasoning of Vinter, the Grand Chamber has been persuaded by that response. The ramifications of that most recent ruling, Hutchinson v United Kingdom (2017), are explored which, in the long term, threaten the court’s legitimacy and future.

Affiliations: 1: School of Social Sciences, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, United Kingdom,


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