Application no. 28093/02 
by Gerald David TOWNLEY 
against the United Kingdom

The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 29 August 2006 as a Chamber composed of:

Mr J. Casadevall, President
 Sir Nicolas Bratza
 Mr G. Bonello
 Mr S. Pavlovschi
 Mr L. Garlicki
 Ms L. Mijović, 
 Mr J. Šikuta, judges
and Mr T. L. Early, Section Registrar,

Having regard to the above application lodged on 1 March 2001,

Having regard to the partial decision of 4 November 2003,

Having deliberated, decides as follows:


The applicant, Gerald David Townley, now deceased, was a British national born in 1940. He is represented before the Court by Royds RDW, solicitors practising in London.

A.  The circumstances of the case

The applicant’s wife died on 5 February 1991. He was left with one child born in 1981.

On 22 September 2000 the applicant applied to the Benefits Agency for the payment of social security benefits. He applied for benefits equivalent to those to which a widow, whose husband had died in similar circumstances to those of his wife, would have been entitled under the Social Security and Benefits Act 1992 (“the 1992 Act”). His application and his subsequent appealed were refused.

B.  Relevant domestic law

The domestic law relevant to this application is set out in Willis v. the United Kingdom, no. 36042/97, §§ 14-26, ECHR 2002-IV.


The applicant complained that British social security and tax legislation discriminated against him on grounds of sex, in breach of Article 14 of the Convention taken in conjunction with both Article 8 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1.


On 11 April 2006 the respondent Government informed the Court that they understood the applicant to be deceased. On 18 May 2006 the Registry invited the applicant’s representatives to comment on this information and also to indicate whether, if this was indeed the case, the applicant’s estate wished to pursue the application.

On 1 June 2006, the lawyers informed the Court that “they had not heard from any representative of Mr Townley’s estate following his death that they wish for Mr Townley’s claim to continue”.

The applicant is dead and his heirs may be regarded as no longer wishing to pursue his application within the meaning of Article 37 § 1 (a) of the Convention. In accordance with Article 37 § 1, there is no reason which would justify the continuation of the examination of the application. Accordingly, the application should be struck out of the Court’s list of cases.

For these reasons, the Court unanimously

Decides to strike the application out of its list of cases.

T. L. EARLY Josep Casadevall 
Registrar  President