EHRC Legal interventions and Use of restraint in Secure Training Centre
This case challenged the use of restraint in Secure Training Centres (STCs) following the deaths of two young people in separate centres in 2004. The MoJ, without undertaking an impact assessment, had changed rules concerning the circumstances in which restraint could be used on children in custody. The High Court said that MoJ should have conducted an Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) but did not quash the Order bringing about the new rule. The restraint rules violated Article 3 of the HRA, prohibiting “inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” and the MoJ had failed to determine the impact of the rule change for ethnic minority STC residents via an EIA, in breach of s71(1) of the Race Relations Act 1976. Although the High Court had found that the race equality duty had been breached it did not quash the rules, and should have done so in the circumstances.
The Court of Appeal agreed with the Commission’s argument that restraint rules violated Art 3 and that the MoJ had failed to determine the impact of the rule change for ethnic minority STC residents via an EIA. Following the judgment, the Commission demanded that the MoJ overhaul its child restraint rules.
* Source: EHRC website, R (C) v Secretary of State for Justice, Court of Appeal, 16 and 17 July 2008. Judgment, 28 July 2008