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:
In order to fulfil its role the European court must not only be independent, it must also be seen to be independent. That is why we are, I have to say, uncomfortable with the idea that governments can in some way dictate to the court how its case law should evolve or how it should carry out the judicial functions conferred on it."
It is in the nature of the protection of fundamental rights and the rule of law that sometimes minority interests have to be secured against the view of the majority. I would plead that this should not lead governments to overlook the very real concrete benefits which the court's decisions have brought for their own countries on the internal plane."
Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke insists that Britain has steered through real reforms to the European Court of Human Rights.
The row over Abu Qatada is set to be reignited as Britain tries to secure a deal that could see European human rights judges intervene less.