European Court of Human Rights - case of Allan v. the United Kingdom (2002) (excerpts)

European Court of Human Rights - case of Allan v. the United Kingdom (2002) (excerpts)

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42.  The Court reiterates that its duty, according to Article 19 of the Convention, is to ensure the observance of the engagements undertaken by the Contracting States to the Convention. In particular, it is not its function to deal with errors of fact or of law allegedly committed by a national court unless and in so far as they may have infringed rights and freedoms protected by the Convention. While Article 6 guarantees the right to a fair hearing, it does not lay down any rules on the admissibility of evidence as such, which is therefore primarily a matter for regulation under national law (see Schenk v. Switzerland, judgment of 12 July 1988, Series A no. 140, p. 29, §§ 45-46, and, for a more recent example in a different context, Teixeira de Castro v. Portugal, judgment of 9 June 1998, Reports of Judgments and Decision 1998-IV, p. 1462, § 34). It is not the role of the Court to determine, as a matter of principle, whether particular types of evidence – for example, unlawfully obtained evidence – may be admissible or, indeed, whether the applicant was guilty or not. The question which must be answered is whether the proceedings as a whole, including the way in which the evidence was obtained, were fair. This involves an examination of the “unlawfulness” in question and, where a violation of another Convention right is concerned, the nature of the violation found.