Monday 20 December 2010

NGO Petition on Possible Fees at the Court

A large number of leading NGOs (Amnesty International, the AIRE Centre, EHRAC, the ICJ, Interights, Justice and Liberty) have launched a campaign related to one of the proposals which are being discussed in the wake of the Interlaken Reform Summit to ease the workload of the European Court: the possible introduction of Court fees for applicants. The group of NGOs is concerned "that the proposal to impose fees on applicants to the Court risks undermining and is inimical to the right of petition." They therefore call upon all those involved in litigation at the Court and any other NGOs and association interested to sign a petition to support their call. Amongst others, they ask the ECHR state parties to, at the very least, undertake a costs-benefits analysis before deciding on the issue. Read the background document with the petition attached here. This is the summary of the document:

The 47 governments of the Council of Europe are considering a proposal which would impose an additional barrier for victims of human rights violations to have access to justice. This document gives reasons why some governments and non-governmental organizations, including Amnesty International, the AIRE Centre, the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC), Human Rights Watch, the International Commission of Jurists, Interights, Justice and REDRESS, are calling for the proposal to be rejected outright. Amnesty International encourages civil society organizations in all CoE member states to sign the petition appended to the document.
Click here for a recently issued commentary of the group of NGOs on the Interlaken Action Plan.

The follow-up to Interlaken will be discussed in a Council of Europe meeting in Izmir in April next year.