Thursday 27 January 2011

Conscience of Europe Book Launched

This week the book 'The Conscience of Europe. 50 Years of the European Court of Human Rights' is launched in Strasbourg. This is not so much a book directed at academics or lawyers - though certainly also of interest to them - but to a much broader audience. In a very accessible way, this big volume is a beautifully illustrated overview of the work, history, and significance of the European Court of Human Rights as well as the former Commission. It also offers a true insiders' view, with lots of short articles, memories and impressions of former and current judges and staff, as well as a host of illustrations and cartoons about the Court. It also includes biographical sketches of all the presidents of the Court and the Commission as well as a history of the Court's current and previous buildings. I was most struck by a short and funny note of an anonymous judge to the Court's president in the 1980s complaining about the casual attire of Dutch counsels apprearing before the Court. Here is a short quote:

One does feel a little silly wearing a fur-trimmed blue stole opposite a member of one's own profession wearing blue jeans and a fancy top. One of us has to give in and I am sure it is not us who should take to wearing fancy tops (maybe with a sheriff's star) and blue jeans. It should, if anything, be the other way around.
I reported earlier on the book here. Highly recommended!