Van Colle v. The United Kingdom (Application No. 7678/09)

A selection of key paragraph(s) can be found below the document.

The Court recalls its established case-law to the effect that the first sentence of Article 2 § 1 enjoins the State not only to refrain from the intentional and unlawful taking of life but also to take appropriate steps to safeguard the lives of those within its jurisdiction (…). It may imply a positive obligation on the authorities to take preventive operational measures to protect an individual whose life is at risk from the criminal acts of another individual (…). The scope of any such positive obligation must be interpreted in a way which does not impose an impossible or disproportionate burden on the authorities, bearing in mind the difficulties in policing modern societies, the unpredictability of human conduct and the operational choices which must be made in terms of priorities and resources. Not every claimed risk to life can entail for the authorities a Convention requirement to take operational measures to prevent that risk from materialising. For the Court to find a violation of the positive obligation to protect life, it must be established that the authorities knew or ought to have known at the time of the existence of a real and immediate risk to the life of an identified individual from the criminal acts of a third party and that they failed to take measures within the scope of their powers which, judged reasonably, might have been expected to avoid that risk (…).