Monday 4 October 2010

Case Law Made More Accessible

One of the ways to ease the case-load of the Court is to make the case-law more accessible and more known in the state parties to the European Convention. Thus, in a follow-up to the Interlaken conference earlier this year, the Court itself has introduced two ways for better access to its jurisprudence. The first is that the well-known HUDOC search engine now also contains a list of thematic key words by Convention Article and Protocol, which can be used to use the search form more efficiently.

The second is the launch of a number of electronic factsheets on the Court's jurisprudence. Currently, there are almost twenty of them, relating to e.g. child protection, terrorism, the environment and the very topical Roma and travellers' rights. As an example, consider this factsheet on the ECHR and the European Union, a very concise and informative overview. The sheets include both decided and pending cases and the Court has announced it will update them regularly. One may hope that this will indeed happen regularly; another earlier tool of the Court, the sheets on key case-law issues have, after a promising beginning a few years ago, not been extended or updated since 2007 (as far as I could see) ... One may assume this is a question of both time and funding, but it would be important that the new initiatives will not suffer from a similar fate. For the moment, they are a great improvement for increased access to the Court's case-law.