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Vinter v UK [2013, ECHR]


  • Joint appeal concerning a whole life sentence as a opposed to a mandatory life sentence (capped at 25 years)
  • Vinter was released after a minimum 10 year sentence for murder, before killing his wife in a fit of rage
  • Moore killed four people for the purpose of sexual gratification
  • Bamber killed his family in a pre-mediated murder


  • Was the issuing of a whole life sentence in breach of Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights concerning the prevention of inhuman or degrading treatment?


  • Yes


  • The European Court of Human Rights said that to have no prospect of release from prison (except dying) constituted inhuman or degrading treatment
  • This was contrary to the Lord Chief Justice’s remarks in the Court of Appeal
  • This judgment is not binding in the UK, as illustrated by R v McLoughlin [2014], where the Court of Appeal ignored this decision, finding that in the UK, a whole life sentence is permissible
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