On 9 July 2021, the Supreme Court (UKSC) handed down judgment in R (on the application of AB) v Secretary of State for Justice [2021] 3 WLR 494. It concerned the controversial issue of solitary confinement, made more controversial by the fact that the recipient of such treatment was a minor.

The UKSC’s mandate was to consider two questions. Firstly, whether solitary confinement of individuals under 18 years of age is inherently inhuman and degrading, and thus contrary to Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Secondly, if the first question were to be answered in the negative, is there a single test of compatibility with Article 3 for solitary confinement involving persons under 18 so that it is a...

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