Tara Lyle, policy adviser at Amnesty International, warned:
The president of the European Court of Human Rights has said he is "uncomfortable" at the suggestion government can dictate how it should carry out its work and there is no need for new admissibility criteria cases. Sir Nicolas Bratza addressed the council meeting:
Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke has told a Council of Europe meeting that a "shared national interest" in change is needed to reform the European Court of Human Rights:
Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke says he is hopeful the other 46 member states of the Council of Europe will agree to the reforms the UK government wants to make to the role of the European Court of Human Rights.
The UK wants to:
- Improve the efficiency of the court to enable it to work faster
- Find ways to help the court reduce the backlog of some 150,000 cases
- Increase the role of nation states in protecting human rights so that fewer cases are referred to the court
Consensus will be required to alter the court's regulations.
The Council of Europe has prepared a preliminary opinion of the Court outlining the reforms it wants to debate.
- Founded on the 5th May 1949 by 10 countries in the aftermath of the second world war
- Set up to promote democracy and human rights and the rule of law in Europe
- Based in Strasbourg, comprised of 47 member countries of Europe
- Chaired by Foreign Secretary William Hague
The British judge who heads the Strasburg's human rights court has told the Times that today's conference in Brighton will not "change the way we do our job."
Sir Nicolas Bratza said the meeting would not alter the power balance between the European Court of Human Rights and Westminster. He said:
"The problem is that this has been talked up too much. It is forgotten that this is not the first conference, it is the third in a series, part of a continuing process. I don’t expect the dramatic changes that some have anticipated.”
- Operates in Strasbourg in France
- Most cases brought by individuals who feel they have been denied justice by national courts
- Individuals can bring a case without needing an expensive lawyer
- The court will adhere to the European Convention on Human Rights
- Rulings are legally binding
- The Court's deliberations are always secret
- Over 50,000 new applications are lodged every year
- The Council of Europe checks to see that rulings are implemented
The row over the deportation of Abu Qatada is set to be reignited again today as Britain tries to secure a deal on reforms that will see European human rights judges intervene less in British affairs.
The Justice Secretary Ken Clarke is hosting a conference of representatives of the 47 member nations of the Council of Europe in Brighton. Mr Clarke will try and find agreement among the Council which oversees human rights, democracy and law across all member nations.