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Barclay v United Kingdom

Reference 18/05/1999
Court European Court of Human Rights

Date of Judgment 18 May 1999


Human Rights – Privacy – Broadcasting – Unwanted filming – Article 8 – Broadcasting Complaints Commission


The applicants owned an island, Brecqhou, in the Channel Islands on which they were building a house. The BBC asked for, but were refused, permission to interview the applicants and land on the island. Nevertheless, a reporter from the BBC landed on the island and recorded material for a documentary until he was escorted off by a security guard. At all material times the applicants were resident in Monaco. The applicants complained to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission which upheld their complaint for invasion of privacy. They subsequently complained to the Commission of a violation of their rights under Articles 8 and 13 of the Convention.


Whether there had been an interference with the applicants’ right to respect for their private life and home contrary to Article 8.


That mere ownership of property does not constitute a home within the meaning of Article 8 and that unauthorised entry onto the property of another, withot more, does not necessarily entail any interference with respect for private life. On the facts Article 8 was not engaged and the application was declared inadmissible.


This case shows that, in certain circumstances, the rights protected by Article 8 can be narrower than the concept of privacy in English law. The Government’s argument that the applicants had failed to exhaust their domestic remedies by bringing proceedings for trespass, was not therefore tested.

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