The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the rights of more than a thousand prisoners in Britain were breached when they were prevented from voting in elections.

The case was brought by inmates who were behind bars during various elections between 2009 and 2011.

The court ruled Tuesday that Britain's policy of banning convicted prisoners from voting violated the right to a free election — a decision consistent with its previous calls for a legal change in Britain. However, the court rejected the applicants' claims for compensation and legal costs.

The ruling does not compel Britain to change its law to give voting rights to prisoners. On Tuesday, the Ministry of Justice said it believed the topic "should ultimately be decided in the U.K."