European court condemns UK over prisoner vote ban—but no payout for convicts

A group of British prisoners have lost a compensation bid for being denied the right to vote. However, the European Court of Human Rights said in its ruling that denying them the vote was a breach of human rights. Ten prisoners took the case to the ECHR after being denied the right to vote in elections to the European Parliament on June 4, 2009.

The government has always been clear that it believes prisoner voting is an issue that should ultimately be decided in the UK.

Ministry of Justice spokesman

The court ruled that was a violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights—right to a free election. As the court refused the prisoners’ demand for compensation or legals costs, the UK government will not have to pay out for hundreds of similar cases. In December 2013, a parliamentary committee recommended giving some prisoners the right to vote but the government has so far not brought forward any legislation.

It makes me physically ill even to contemplate having to give the vote to anyone who is in prison.

Prime Minister David Cameron said in 2010