Ministry of Justice

Public Protection, Proportionality and the Search for Balance

Date: 27 September 2007

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This report examines how courts in the UK and Europe respond when human rights and security appear to conflict.


It compares cases from the UK, France, Germany, Spain, and the European Court of Human Rights, and examines how human rights are applied and how courts use the concept of proportionality to mediate conflicts between rights and security.  

The report concludes that British courts are less consistent in their application of proportionality than countries with constitutional rights protections which tend to be more rigorous in their protections of rights than are countries, like the UK, that rely instead on the European Convention on Human Rights.