THE FACTS

I.   Description of the applicant and the relation of the present
application to application No. 5155/71

On 20 August 1971 the first applicant, Mr. X., a citizen of the United
Kingdom, introduced an application against the United Kingdom. He was
represented by the second applicant, Mr. Y., a citizen of the United
States of America and a lawyer practising in Buffalo, New York.

That application which concerned, inter alia, the first applicant's
arrest in August 1971 and subsequent detention in Northern Ireland, was
registered in the register of the Commission's Secretariat on 6
September 1971 under file No. 5155/71. On 25 September 1971 the
Commission decided, in accordance with Rule 45, 3 (b) of its Rules of
Procedure, to give notice of the application to the respondent
Government and to invite the Government to submit its observations in
writing on the admissibility of the application. The Commission also
decided to give precedence to the application in accordance with Rule
38 , 1 of the Rules of Procedure.

The respondent Government's observations on the admissibility were
submitted on 18 February 1972. In these observations the respondent
Government confirmed, inter alia, that the first applicant had been
arrested on .. August 1971 under Regulation 11 issued under the Civil
Authorities (Special Powers) Act (Northern Ireland) 1922 on the grounds
that he was suspected of having committed an offence under Regulation
24 A by having in his possession documents relating to, or purporting
to relate to, the affairs of an unlawful association, namely the Irish
Republican Army (IRA). On .. September an order was signed by the
Ministry for Home Affairs in his capacity as Civil Authority for the
first applicant's internment under the provisions of Regulation 12 of
the Special Powers Regulations. On .. September 1971 another order was
made under the same regulations authorising his removal to Long Kesh
Internment Camp where he is still being detained.

The respondent Government's observations on the admissibility of
application No. 5155/71 were forwarded to the second applicant in his
capacity as legal representative of the first applicant on 25 February
and the second applicant was invited to submit observations in reply
before 26 April 1972.

Under cover of a letter of 10 March 1972 the second applicant submitted
to the Commission a "new petition" on behalf of the first applicant and
on his own behalf. The Commission examined this petition (the full text
of which will be reproduced under II below) on 23 March 1972. It
decided that the petition should be regarded as a new application which
was consequently registered in the register of the Commission's
Secretariat under file No. 5459/72.

II.  The applicants' application of 10 March 1972

The application states as follows:

"The undersigned attorney, Y, on behalf of X, who has previously filed
a complaint against the Government of Great Britain herein and on
behalf of himself as attorney for the said client, petitions the Human
Rights Commission as follows:

In order to reply to the Government's answer, I must communicate with
my client who is interned at the Long Kesh concentration camp. I cannot
do this since the Government continuously intercepts and opens and
censors all mail between my client and myself.

The internment of my client does not justify this breach of the
confidential relationship between attorney and client, well recognised
by the Commission and the common law of Great Britain. It is
unrealistic to expect an attorney to accept such conditions, knowing
the British Government is taking note of each and every word exchanged
between attorney and client.

The right to legal counsel, recognised by the Convention, implies the
right to communicate with said counsel in private without interference
from the Government. An attorney who cannot so act, is of little
assistance to his client who, in effect, is unrepresented by counsel.

Due process of law requires legal representation free from governmental
interference. The Government's action is an effect to intimidate and
restrain both attorney and client herein.

The Government's action violates Article 5 of the Convention which
guarantees 'liberty and security of person'. and Article 6 of the
Convention which guarantees due process of law, including the right to
communicate and be represented by legal counsel and the 'right to have
adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence' as
well as 'legal assistance'.

Article 8 guarantees the right of privacy and is also violated. Since
Mr. X. is incarcerated, he is hardly a threat to public peace and order
or a threat to the 'freedom of others'.

Article 11 is also violated since the petitioner is denied the right
of 'freedom of association' with his attorney for the purpose of
presenting his case through a legal representative.

Under British law, convicted criminals have the right to communicate
in private with their attorneys without the aforementioned interference
by the Government, yet the petitioner, who is not even charged with the
commission of a crime, is denied this basic right.

Aside form the right of the interned petitioner X herein, the
undersigned, as legal counsel of Mr. X is therefore afforded certain
separate and distinct rights under the aforementioned articles of the
Convention. He is also afforded additional rights, not as the original
petitioner herein, but as legal counsel to said petitioner, pursuant
to the provisions of the Council's European Agreement relating to
persons participating in proceedings of the European Commission and
Court of Human Rights.

Article 5 of that agreement guarantees said attorney 'the freedom of
speech and the independence necessary for the discharge of their
functions, tasks and duties, or the exercise of their rights in
relation to the Commission and the Court'. The very purpose of this
agreement is to protect the privileged communications passing between
attorney and client, a relationship recognised under British law. In
this case, said law is not applied to the petitioner X because he is
an Irishman. If he were a convicted felon in a London prison, he would
enjoy full rights of privacy without interference from the Government
as alleged hereinbefore. The Government's action constitutes
intimidation of counsel and wrongful interference in counsel's ability
to perform any functions as attorney, as well as counsel's freedom of
speech which includes the right to communicate in private, with his
client either orally or in writing.

Article 3 of the aforementioned agreement protecting attorney and
client provides that 'there shall be no interference by a public
authority except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary
in a democratic society in the interest of national security, for the
detection or prosecution of a criminal offence or for the protection
of health'. It should be noted that my client is not being held in any
criminal proceedings and has not been charged with a crime. In fact,
the answer of the British Government herein merely states that my
client is 'suspected' of being associated with the Irish Republican
Army. Suspicion does not constitute a crime under British law and the
Government's action violates the Convention and the aforementioned
agreement. There is no claim by the Government that for 'national
security' purposes, it must open mail between attorney and client
herein nor is there any claim that there is any need for the
'protection of health' herein. Therefore, there is no basis for the
Government's interference.

The petitioner X and the undersigned attorney cannot accept any
tortured interpretation of Article 3 which would interpret Article 3
as providing protection only to attorneys in Northern Ireland, thus
affording the Government the right to interfere if the petitioner had
an American or non-British attorney representing him. The Convention
and the agreement clearly protect all petitioners and all attorneys.

Whereafter, the undersigned respectfully urges that the Commission
direct the British Government to cease and desist with respect to the
aforementioned practices and permit communications in private without
opening of mail or other communications between attorney and client
herein. This petition is filed on behalf of X and also on behalf of Y,
New York, USA, Attorney for said petitioner whose rights are also
protected under the aforementioned provisions of the Convention and the
aforementioned agreement."

THE LAW

1.   The Commission observes that the subject matter of the present
application is only the alleged opening and censoring by the
authorities of correspondence between the first and the second
applicant relating to application No. 5155/71.

The applicants have complained that such examination of the
correspondence between a lawyer and his client amounts to a violation
of Articles 5, 6, 8 and 11 (Art. 5, 6, 8, 11) of the Convention and
they have also invoked Articles 3 and 5 (Art. 3, 5) of the European
Agreement relating to persons participating in proceedings of the
European Commission and Court of Human Rights.

2.   The Commission has first examined this complaint under Article
8 (1) (Art. 8-1) of the Convention which stipulates that "everyone has
the right to respect for .... his correspondence". However, paragraph
(2) of this Article (Art. 8-2) provides as follows:

"There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise
of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is
necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national
security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for
the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or
morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others."

The Commission first finds that the applicants have produced no
evidence of censoring of correspondence in the sense that any
communications have been allegedly stopped or their contents, wholly
or partly, deleted or otherwise tampered with.

The Commission next finds that the examination of the correspondence
in question clearly constitutes an interference by a public authority
with the applicant's right to respect for their correspondence within
the meaning of Article 8 (1) (Art. 8-1). The Commission is therefore
called upon to consider whether or not this interference can be
justified on the grounds set out in paragraph (2) of the said Article
(Art. 8-2).

The Commission does not find it necessary, for this purpose, to
determine whether the first applicant's detention as such is consistent
with the provisions of the Convention, in particular Article 5
(Art. 5). It is sufficient to note that he is being detained at the
Long Kesh Internment Camp under the provisions of Regulation 12 of the
Special Powers Regulations, in accordance with an order made by the
Northern Ireland Minister of Home Affairs, on suspicion of "acting or
having acted or being about to act in a manner prejudicial to the
preservation of the peace and the maintenance of order in Northern
Ireland". Moreover, Regulation 13 (2) provides that no "communications
may be sent or received by a person interned under the regulations
except such as have been examined and passed" by the competent officer.

It is therefore clear that the supervision complained of was "in
accordance with the law" within the meaning of Article 8 (2) (Art. 8-2)
of the Convention, having regard to the provisions of Regulation 13 (2)
taken in conjunction with Sec. 1 (3) of the Civil Authorities (Special
Powers) Act (Northern Ireland) 1922. Taking into account the reasons
for the first applicant's internment, the Commission further finds that
the examination of this correspondence was fully justified "in the
interests of national security" or "for the prevention of disorder or
crime" within the meaning of Article 8 (2) (Art. 8-2).

In this connection, the Commission recalls that it has frequently held
that the examination of a detained person's correspondence, or, in
certain circumstances even the stopping of particular letters sent or
received by such a person, is not inconsistent with the provisions of
Article 8 (see e.g. the decisions on the admissibility of applications
No. 793/60, Yearbook, Vol. 3, pp. 444, 448;  No. 2749/66, Yearbook,
Vol. 10, pp. 388, 412 and No. 4445/70, Collection of Decisions, Vol.
37, pp. 119, 122). The Commission also refers in this respect to the
judgment of 18 June 1971 of the European Court of Human Rights in the
De Wilde, Ooms and Versyp Cases ("Vagrancy" Cases) (paragraphs 91 - 93,
pp. 45 - 46).

The Commission has also noted the applicant's arguments with regard to
the European Agreement relating to persons participating in proceedings
of the European Commission and Court of Human Rights. This Agreement
has been ratified by the United Kingdom and certain other High
Contracting Parties and entered into force on 17 April 1971. The
Commission observes that it derives its competence solely from the
European Convention of Human Rights and has no competence to examine
whether or not measures taken by a Contracting Party are consistent
with the provisions of that Agreement.

It follows that, insofar as the applicants allege that the examination
of their correspondence constitutes a violation of Article 8 (Art. 8)
of the Convention, the application is manifestly ill-founded within the
meaning of Article 27, paragraph (2) (Art. 27-2), of the Convention.

3.   The Commission nas next examined that applicants' complaints
under Articles 5, 6 and 11 (Art. 5, 6, 11) of the Convention and
considers that the arguments advanced by the applicant are wholly
without merit. As regards alleged violations of Articles 5 and 11
(Art. 5, 11), the Commission has already found that the applicants'
present complaints do not raise any issue under Article 5 (Art. 5) and
the Commission is equally clear that the applicants have not shown the
basis for any possible violation of Article 11 (Art. 11). It might
further be pointed out that the provisions of Article 6 (1) (Art. 6-1)
of the Convention only apply to proceedings before national tribunals
charged with the determination of a person's "civil rights and
obligations or of any criminal charge against him" and cannot be
directly invoked in connection with proceedings before the Commission
itself. It should be added that the applicants have not even suggested
that their correspondence relates to any form of proceedings instituted
before courts or authorities in the United Kingdom by the first
applicant or by the second applicant on his behalf. The Commission
finds, therefore, that an examination in this respect of the complaints
as they have been submitted, do not disclose any appearance of a
violation of the rights and freedoms set out in the Articles invoked
by the applicants.

It follows that, also in this respect, the application is manifestly
ill-founded within the meaning of Article 27, paragraph (2)
(Art. 27-2), of the Convention.

For these reasons, the Commission DECLARES THIS APPLICATION
INADMISSIBLE