THIRD SECTION

DECISION

Application no. 37481/97 
by Robert Rex MOORE 
against the United Kingdom

The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting on 30 May 2000 as a Chamber composed of

Mr J.-P. Costa, President,

Mr W. Fuhrmann,

Mr L. Loucaides,

Sir Nicolas Bratza,

Mrs H.S. Greve,

Mr K. Traja,

Mr M. Ugrekhelidze, judges,

and Mrs S. Dollé, Section Registrar,

Having regard to the above application introduced with the European Commission of Human Rights on 25 July 1997 and registered on 25 September 1997,

Having regard to Article 5 § 2 of Protocol No. 11 to the Convention, by which the competence to examine the application was transferred to the Court,

Having regard to the observations submitted by the respondent Government and the observations in reply submitted by the applicant,

Having deliberated, decides as follows:

 

THE FACTS

The applicant is a British national, born in 1956 and living in Colchester. He is represented before the Court by Mr S. Foster, a lawyer working for MIND’s Legal and Parliamentary Unit. The facts of the case, as submitted by the applicant, may be summarised as follows.

A. Particular circumstances of the case

Since July 1993 the applicant has been detained at a hospital in Colchester under section 3 of the Mental Health Act 1983. On 2 October 1996 he wrote to the Electoral Registration Officer (“ERO”) for Colchester, asking to be entered on the electoral roll and giving the hospital as his residential address. The Colchester ERO replied that since section 7(1) of the Representation of the People Act 1983 (“RPA”) prevented detained patients from being “resident” at their place of detention, the applicant should instead approach the ERO responsible for his parents’ area, where he had lived before going into hospital.

The ERO for his parents’ area also refused the applicant’s request for registration, since the applicant had not lived at his parents’ house during the previous six months.

On 8 November 1996 the applicant instructed MIND’s legal department to act for him. On 18 December 1996, Counsel gave verbal advice that the applicant did not have good grounds to apply to the High Court for judicial review of the ERO’s decision or to make use of the available remedies under the RPA, namely an appeal against the ERO’s decision to the County Court (section 56 of the RPA) or a request for a hearing before the ERO (section 42(2)(d) of the RPA). Counsel’s advice was confirmed in writing on 12 January 1997.

COMPLAINTS

The applicant originally submitted that, by virtue of the Representation of the People Act 1983 section 7(1), he was unable to use the hospital at which he is detained as his residential address for the purposes of registration on the electoral roll. He complained that, as he could not claim to be resident at any other address, he had effectively been disenfranchised. He invoked Article 3 of Protocol No. 1, alone and in conjunction with Article 14 of the Convention.

He also complained that he was denied an effective remedy contrary to Article 13 of the Convention.

THE LAW

By a letter dated 16 March 2000 the Government informed the Court that a Bill substituting a new Section 7 of the Representation of the People Act 1983, had received the Royal Assent. It enables both voluntary and detained mental patients to be registered on the electoral roll in respect of the hospitals where they reside.

By a letter dated 28 April 2000 the applicant informed the Court that, in the circumstances, he did not wish to continue with his application.

In accordance with Article 37 § 1 in fine of the Convention, the Court finds no special circumstances regarding respect for human rights as defined in the Convention which require the continuation of the examination of the application.

For these reasons, the Court, unanimously,

DECIDES TO STRIKE THE APPLICATION OUT OF ITS LIST OF CASES.

S. Dollé J.-P. Costa 
 Registrar President

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