Media By: Ed Bates, University of Southampton


The Brighton Declaration and the “meddling court”

22 April 2012 by

The Brighton Declaration is the latest Declaration (see previously the Interlaken and Izmir Declarations) on the future (and reform) of the European Court of Human Rights made on behalf of the 47 member States to the Council of Europe, the parent organisation for the ECHR. Brighton was the venue, the United Kingdom having taken up the six month Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe late last year.

The workload problem

So what was agreed? A nine page, highly influential Declaration, building on Interlaken and Izmir, which is primarily concerned with trying to make the Court system sustainable, since it is overwhelmed by the number of applications reaching it. Over 150,000 applications are currently pending before the Court.

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Who should have the final word on human rights? – Dr Ed Bates

6 March 2012 by

This is the first in a series of posts analysing the UK’s draft “Brighton Declaration” on European Court of Human Rights reform.

Much of the criticism directed toward the European Court of Human Rights over the last year or so, in this country at least, has been that it is too ready to overrule decisions made by the competent United Kingdom national authorities. It is said that British courts have already addressed the relevant human rights arguments under the Human Rights Act, so it is quite wrong that Strasbourg should now ‘overrule’ them.

A recent high profile example, apparently, was Strasbourg’s finding of a violation of the Convention in the Abu Qatada case, despite the House of Lords’ earlier ruling, holding no violation of the ECHR. (See, for example, the Home Secretary’s expressions of frustration about this).

The leaked (British) draft of the Brighton Declaration (for commentary, see here, here and here) concerning the on-going reform of the ECHR is apparently seeking to rebalance matters in this regard, and perhaps put the Strasbourg Court in its place.

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Is the Attorney General right on prisoner votes and subsidiarity? – Dr Ed Bates

27 October 2011 by

In his speech earlier this week the Attorney General announced that he would appear in person before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in two weeks’ time, when it hears Scoppola v Italy No2, a case concerning prisoner voting. The United Kingdom is due to intervene in this case, for reasons that readers of this blog will be fully aware of.

I agree with Adam Wagner’s comments that the Attorney General’s speech should (if I may respectfully say so) be applauded for the mature and positive way it addressed some very important issues regarding the future protection of human rights at both the domestic and European level. Here I would like to focus in particular upon what Dominic Grieve said about prisoner voting, and his forthcoming appearance at Strasbourg. On page 9 of his speech he stated:

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