The Committee reiterates the recommendation contained in its previous
concluding observations (CAT/C/GBR/CO/5, para. 7) that the State party incorporate
all the provisions of the Convention in its legislation. The State party should provide
information to the Committee on any cases in which the Convention has been invoked
by national courts.
Human Rights Act 1998
The Committee takes note of the statement made by the State party’s delegation that
the United Kingdom will remain a party to the Convention for the Protection of Human
Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (European Convention on Human Rights) and that the
Government has no plans to repeal or reform the Human Rights Act 1998, which is
currently the only mechanism through which the right not to be subjected to torture or to
inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment can be directly enforced, even after any
prospective departure by the United Kingdom from the European Union. However, the
Committee remains concerned by repeated contradictory statements made by high-level
officials of the State party in the past (art. 2).
11. Recalling the Committee’s previous recommendation (CAT/C/GBR/CO/5, para.
8), the State party should ensure that any legislative changes do not diminish the State
party’s current level of legal protections regarding the prohibition of torture and
other ill-treatment.
Absolute prohibition of torture
The Committee remains concerned that the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (sect. 134 (4)
and (5)) provides a defence against prosecution for torture in cases where a defendant
claims to have lawful authority, justification or excuse, which is inconsistent with the
absolute prohibition of torture (art. 2 (2)).
The Committee reiterates its previous recommendations (CAT/C/GBR/CO/5,
para. 10, and CAT/C/CR/33/3, para. 4 (a) (ii)) that the State party should repeal
section 134 (4) and (5) of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and ensure that its legislation
reflects article 2 (2) of the Convention, which stipulates that no exceptional
circumstances whatsoever may be invoked as a justification of torture.
Prompt, thorough and impartial investigations
The Committee notes with concern that numerous allegations of ill-treatment have
been recorded in places of detention, including immigration removal centres, prisons and
youth custodial facilities, during the reporting period. In that regard, it regrets that the State
party has not provided the comprehensive information requested by the Committee on the
number of complaints of torture or ill-treatment received by its authorities during the
reporting period nor information on whether those complaints have resulted in
investigations and prosecutions and/or disciplinary action against officials. While taking
note of the information provided by the State party during the dialogue, according to which
over 6,500 investigations were launched into allegations of misconduct and 2,600 prison
staff were subjected to disciplinary action between 2013 and 2018, including disciplinary
action against 50 prison officers for assault in 2017–2018, the Committee regrets not
having received comprehensive information on criminal investigations and prosecutions of
State officials during the reporting period, the sentences imposed on offenders or whether
the alleged perpetrators of those acts were removed from public service (arts. 2, 12–13 and
The Committee urges the State party routinely to compile and publish
comprehensive disaggregated statistical information relevant to all complaints and
reports received of torture or ill-treatment – including information on whether such
complaints led to investigations and, if so, by which authority, whether the
investigations resulted in the imposition of disciplinary measures and/or prosecutions
and whether the victims obtained redress – in a manner that will enable the State
party to provide such information to the Committee and other relevant monitors in
the future.


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