Court of Justice gives important ruling in torture case: Alasdair Mackenzie instructed

The Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union has given judgment in an important case providing additional protection under EU law for torture victims. 


In MP v SSHD, a reference from the UK Supreme Court, the Court holds that subsidiary protection status (known as humanitarian protection in UK domestic law) must in certain circumstances be given to a person who has been tortured by the authorities of their country of origin, but who is not at risk of further torture in future.  Subsidiary protection must be given where the individual is at serious risk of committing suicide on return, as a result of trauma resulting from the past torture, and where there is also a real risk of being intentionally deprived of appropriate care for the physical and mental after-effects of the torture. 


The Court takes account, in reaching its ruling, of the duty on states in Article 14 of the UN Convention against Torture to provide torture victims with ‘the means for as full rehabilitation as possible’.  The Court makes clear that ‘intentional’ deprivation of care can extend to a situation where the state authorities simply ‘are not prepared’ to provide rehabilitation, or where access to health care excludes certain people on a discriminatory basis.


Mr MP is a Sri Lankan Tamil who was severely tortured by the Sri Lankan authorities in 2001-02 and continued to suffer severe psychological after-effects of the torture.


Alasdair Mackenzie of Doughty Street represented Mr MP, led by Raza Husain QC with Professor Takis Tridimas, both of Matrix, and instructed by Arun Gananathan at Birnberg Peirce Ltd.