How might this right be relevant to my life?
Some examples of when your right to life might be at risk include:
- Abuse or neglect in detention or care which leads to death.
- If healthcare staff refuse to give you life-saving treatment because of your mental health or mental capacity issue.
- If you tell the police that you think your life is in danger, or that threats have been made against your life, and they fail to take action.
- If you express thoughts of suicide to a public official and they don’t take steps to protect you.
- If you go to hospital with serious injuries or signs that your life may be at risk and they do not act.
Can my right to life be restricted by a public official?
No, the right to life is an absolute right. A public official cannot deliberately take away your right to life (there are some very limited circumstances where the actions of police or armed forces will not be considered a breach of the right to life).
How does the protect duty work?
The courts have set out a test for determining whether a public official has a positive obligation to protect life, and whether this obligation has been met:
Does a public body know, or ought to have known (e.g. because they have formally taken responsibility for the welfare and safety of an individual or a real and immediate risk to their life has been reported to the official)...
...about a real and immediate risk to the individual’s life?
Did the public official do all that was reasonably expected of them to protect life?