The Golder Case (European Court of Human Rights, 1975, p. 3)
· Facts: Prisoner in Great Britain accused in a riot. He attempted to contact his legislator by mail to explain his wrongful accusation, but the letter was not allowed to leave the prison. It came to light that he hadn’t been a part of the riot. Although never charged, his prison record reflected his being on the list. He attempted to petition the Secretary of State to request a transfer and to request he be allowed to contact a civil lawyer. The prison also stopped this letter. The prisoner brought a cause of action for violation of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights, which the UK had signed.
· Holding 1: The prison violated the treaty b/c Article 6, sec. 1 said “everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable amount of time.”
· The right to access constitutes an inherent element of Art 6, §1.
· It was not for the prison or Secretary to decide on the prisoner’s possible case against the prison.
· Holding 2: The prison violated Article 8, §§1 and 2 that “everyone has a right to respect for…his correspondence” and “there shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right. Impeding correspondence is interference.
· Court looked to express sources (was more objective)
· Efficacy of international law (p. 9, n. 3)