ACCESS TO ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION FACILITIES AND A PRISONER’S RIGHT TO RESPECT FOR FAMILY LIFE Dickson v United Kingdom Application No 44362/04 of 4 December 2007 ECtHR
Keywords:artificial insemination facilities, prison, right to respect for private and family life
In this case the applicants complained about the refusal by the British Government of access to artificial insemination facilities in prison and argued that such refusal breached their right to respect for their private and family life under article 8 and/or 12 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Article 8 reads as follows: “1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, … 2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others” (own emphasis). Article 12 reads: “Men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry and to found a family, according to the national laws governing the exercise of this right.” The first applicant (Kirk Dickson), born in 1972, was in prison serving a life sentence for murder. His earliest possible release date was 2009. While they were both in prison, he met the second applicant (Lorraine Dickson) in 1999 through a prison penpal network. The second applicant was born in 1958, and is a mother of three children born from different relationships. Their request for artificial insemination facilities was refused. The Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights found no violation of Articles 8 and 12. This contribution concerns a discussion of the judgment by the Grand
Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), the case being referred to them in terms of article 43 of the ECHR.
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