Open Door and Dublin Well Woman v Ireland, (14234/88) [1992] ECHR 68 (1992)

Landmark decision of the European Court of Human Rights concerning the limitations to the right to freedom of expression

The applicants were two non-profit organisations which provided information about pregnancy-related options. The Irish Supreme Court imposed restrictions on the two companies prohibiting them from providing any information to pregnant women about abortion clinics in Great Britain. The European Court of Human Rights held that the injunction violated Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention. The case has broader implications as although Article 10 may be legitimately restricted in some circumstances, including for the protection of public morals, the Court held that state discretion in such matters is not ‘unfettered and unreviewable’, and that freedom of expression applies even to ideas ‘that offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population.’