In Savage v South Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust  UKHL 74 the House of Lords has delivered a landmark ruling on the scope of article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, ruling that the right to life enshrined in article 2 imposed an operational obligation on medical authorities to do all that could reasonably be expected of them to prevent a patient detained in a mental hospital who was known to be at a real and immediate risk of committing suicide from doing so. Carol Savage was a patient held under the Mental Health Act 1983 who absconded from the hospital where she was detained and threw herself under a train in July 2004. Her daughter, Anna Savage, brought a claim under article 2 of the ECHR, claiming that the hospital knew or ought to have known that her mother posed a real and immediate risk of suicide and failed to take reasonable steps to prevent her death.
The House of Lords dismissed the appeal by the defendant, South Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, from the Court of Appeal  1 WLR 1667 who allowed an appeal by the claimant from the decision of Mrs Justice Swift giving summary judgment for the defendant.
Jenni Richards acted for the claimant, Anna Savage, in the Court of Appeal and House of Lords.