Report 4451/70

Applicant name Golder
Applicant type Natural person (prisoner)
Country The United Kingdom
Decision no. 4451/70
Date 01/06/1973
Judges Sperduti
Institution Commission
Type Report
Outcome Art. 8 Violation
Reason Not necessary
Type of privacy Informational Privacy; procedural privacy
Keywords Prisoner; correspondence; lawyer
Facts of the case See earlier decision
Analysis Case interesting, but also difficult to interpret. It is interesting because a prisoner was hindered in corresponding with his lawyer by prison authorities, which could either be viewed as an interference with his right to a fair trial (Article 6 ECHR) or his right to correspondence (Article 8 ECHR). The Commission treats it as both and concludes that because there has been a violation of Article 6 ECHR, the same must hold true for Article 8 ECHR.

It is also a Report that is difficult to understand because the reasoning of the Commission is relatively brief and raises many questions. Why does the Commission conclude a violation of both rights while it (and the Court) normally says that when a violation of one provision of the Convention is found with regard to a specific fact, it needs not to deal with the question of other potential provisions being violated? Will it always be true that if Article 6 ECHR is violated when hindering prisoners’ correspondence, the same will hold true for Article 8 ECHR? And why precisely can such hindering not be legitimised; is it because it is not in the interest of ‘the prevention of disorder or crime’ or because it is not ‘necessary in a democratic society’? And why is it not in that interest or not necessary in a democratic society? An explanation is not provided by the Commission.
Documents Report