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Dissenting opinion of Judge Costa in the case of Hirst v. The United Kingdom (No. 2), No. 74025/01, ECtHR (Grand Chamber), 6 October 2005

Type Dissenting opinions
Case number 74025/01


Exclusion from the exercise of the right to vote in national and local elections for persons sentenced to imprisonment.

Normative references

Art. 3 Prot. 1 ECHR


1. States enjoy a wide margin of appreciation in deciding on the basis for any restriction, limitation or even outright prohibition of the right to vote. However, the fact that the British legal system does not distinguish between restriction of the right to vote for prisoners on the basis of the offence and its seriousness does not seem to be justifiable as a legitimate aim.


2. For the purposes of applying Art. 3 Prot. 1 of the ECHR, each electoral legislation must be assessed in the light of the political evolution of the country concerned, so that certain features, which are unacceptable in the context of one system, may be justified in the context of another, on the basis of historical and political factors.