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Lustig-Prean and Beckett v. The U.K. , (31417/96) [1999] ECHR 71 (27 September 1999)

Facts: the applicants were homosexuals and members of the U.K. armed forces. Pursuant to the Ministry of Defense's policy excluding homosexuals from the British armed forces, the applicants were administratively discharged.

Complaint: the applicants claimed that the investigations into their sexual orientation and their subsequent discharges violated their right to respect for their private lives, guaranteed by Article 8 of the Convention, and that they had been discriminated against contrary to Article 14. (the applicants in Smith and Grady v The U.K. also claimed a violation of article 3 and 10)

Holding: the ECHR found a violation of article 82 of the Convention.

Reasoning: the investigations were exceptionally intrusive and the administrative discharges had a serious effect on the applicants' careers. They constituted interferences with the applicant's private lives. The justification of the Government, namely that the presence of homosexuals in the armed forces would have a negative effect on morale and on effectiveness of the armed forces, was not enough. Neither the investigations nor the discharges of the applicants were justified within the meaning of Article 8 2.

(see also Smith and Grady v. The U.K .)


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