Public nudity as a human right? Gough v United Kingdom and the ECHR

Stephen Gough is better known as The Naked Rambler. He believes that the unclothed body is inoffensive and practises social nudity, which he expresses byHomme_de_vitruve being naked in public. In 2003 he decided to walk naked from Land’s End to John O’Groats. In Scotland he was arrested and charged with breach of the peace on several occasions and served several short prison sentences. (He was also arrested and charged in England but what follows does not relate to that.)

The facts

On one of his many court appearances in Scotland, he pled “not guilty” at a short hearing on 21 July 2011 and appeared in court naked at his trial in August. He was warned by the Sheriff that if he refused to dress or otherwise cover himself he might be held in contempt of court. He refused to put on clothes and argued, inter alia, that his arrest and trial violated the European Convention of Human Rights, relying on Continue reading