Shelley v. the United Kingdom: Submissions of the Intervenors in the European Court of Human Rights

In 2005, courts in the United Kingdom dismissed a prisoner’s case against the British government. The prisoner was seeking a court order to force the government to implement sterile syringe programs in prisons as a measure to reduce the risk of infection with blood-borne diseases such as HIV through the sharing of drug injection equipment.

The case was appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, alleging the government’s failure is in breach of several articles of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and the Irish Penal Reform Trust were jointly granted leave to intervene in the proceeding by submitting a written brief.

This brief draws on the Legal Network’s comprehensive global review of the evidentiary and legal basis for prison needle exchange programs, and the guidance to be found in international human rights law and health standards related to HIV/AIDS in prisons.

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