Monday 7 November 2011

Various News

Last week, on Friday to be precise, the new president of the European Court of Human Rights, Nicholas Bratza took up his duties, succeeding Jean-Paul Costa. See my earlier post on his election here.

Then, updates on two ECHR-related academic publications. First, Karen Bullock and Paul Johnson of the University of Surrey have published their article 'The impact of the Human Rrights Act 1998 on policing in England and Wales' in the British Journal of Criminology. This is the abstract:

This article explores the impact of the Human Rights Act (HRA) 1998 on the police service of England and Wales. It draws upon qualitative data produced during interviews with police personnel to provide the first empirical study of the influence of the HRA on the police service at an organizational level and on the day-to-day working practices of police officers. Whilst the fundamental aim of the HRA is to protect and enhance citizens’ rights and freedoms, we argue that there is
little evidence to suggest that it has promoted a greater awareness of, and respect for, human rights amongst police officers. Rather, the HRA has become institutionalized by the police service into a series of bureaucratic processes that, although requiring conformity by officers, do not encourage active consideration of human rights issues. Instead of shaping police work to make it more responsive to human rights, bureaucratic processes are used by officers to legitimize and justify their existing practices. Focusing on ‘risks’ rather than ‘rights’, officers satisfy the ‘tests’ introduced by the HRA through an assessment of the dangers posed by particular individuals and crime types and the
resource implications of effectively managing them. An important result of this is that the HRA is not used to achieve a balance between individual rights and community interests, but becomes a framework for mandating police decision making and protecting officers from criticism and blame.
Secondly, professor Laurence Burgorgue Larsen, of the University of Paris I, is twice a year publishing a chronicle on the ECHR in French, entitled 'Actualité de la Convention européenne des droits de l'homme' in the French Administrative Law Review (AJDA - Actualité Juridique - Droit Administratif). A valuable resource for French speakers to stay informed of current ECHR developments!