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Torture (Damages) (No. 2) Bill 2008-09

Type of Bill:
Private Members' Bill (Presentation Bill)
Mr Andrew Dismore

Progress of the Bill

Bill started in the House of Commons

  1. House of Commons
    1. 1st reading
    2. 2nd reading
    3. Committee stage
    4. Report stage
    5. 3rd reading
  2. House of Lords
    1. 1st reading
    2. 2nd reading
    3. Committee stage
    4. Report stage
    5. 3rd reading
  3. Consideration of Amendments
  4. Royal Assent

Latest Bill

House Bill Date
Commons Bill as introduced | PDF version, 83KB 08.06.2009

Latest news on the Torture (Damages) (No. 2) Bill 2008-09

This Bill was presented to Parliament on 26 January. This is known as First Reading and there was no debate on the Bill at this stage.

The Bill was on the Order Paper for a Second Reading on several Fridays before being dropped by its sponsor, Mr Andrew Dismore.


Summary of the Torture (Damages) (No. 2) Bill 2008-09

The purpose of the Bill is to make provision for action for damages for torture. Similar Bills were introduced in the 2006–07 and 2007-08 parliamentary sessions. The Bill would make a person who commits torture liable to an action for damages in civil proceedings in England and Wales. A claim could be brought even where the torture occurred outside the UK, provided that no adequate and effective remedy existed in the state in which the torture took place. Liability would encompass not only an individual, but also any state whose servants or agents committed the torture.

Key areas

  • Makes a person, state (any foreign or commonwealth state including the UK), the sovereign or other head of that state in his public capacity, the Government and any department of that state, and any other entity capable of suing and being sued, liable to an action for damages in civil proceedings for torture
  • Enables an action to be brought at any time within six years
  • Amends the State Immunity Act 1978 so that a state is not immune in respect of proceedings instituted against it
  • Defines 'torture' as the intentional infliction by a public official or a person acting in an official capacity of severe pain or suffering on another in the performance or purported performance of his duties
  • Applies the law of England and Wales for all proceedings brought under the provisions.

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