The second anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire has come and gone, and yet it has been estimated that as many as 200,000 people in the UK are still living in buildings with major fire safety defects. Some of these blocks are wrapped in flammable cladding, as was Grenfell Tower, but many blocks have other fire safety risks, both known and unknown, for which we have only limited data. With inadequate recourse through private law for most of those affected, this paper asks whether human rights law offers an effective avenue for redress. This paper illustrates the UK government’s failure to implement an effective regulatory system for the building and refurbishment of high-rise buildings (especially in relation to combustible cladding systems) and considers whether this failure constitutes an ongoing violation of various rights under the European Convention on Human Rights: Articles 2, 3, 8 and Article 1 Protocol No. 1 (“A1P1). In doing so, it is submitted that current remediation measures and piecemeal reforms do not go far enough to discharge the state’s positive obligation to preserve life.


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