Thursday 3 October 2013

Protocol 16 ECHR Opened for Signature

This week, Protocol 16 to the European Convention on Human Rights was opened for signature in Strasbourg. The Protocol which introduces the possibility for the highest national courts to ask the European Court for an advisory opinion is a product of the ongoing reform process of the Court. This particular Protocol to the ECHR aims to strengthen the national implementation of the Convention by increasing interaction (a word preferred over the often-used term "judicial dialogue") between the European Court in Strasbourg and domestic courts. The explanatory report to the Protocol can be found here.

Contrary to many of the earlier reform protocols, the entry into force of this addition to the Convention might come relatively soon, since it requires ten ratifications (rather than ratifications by all state parties to the Convention). In that sense, it is an opt-in addition to the Convention, applying only to those state parties willing to ratify this Protocol. Thus far seven states have signed the treaty (see the chart here): Armenia, Finland, France, Italy, San Marino, Slovakia and Slovenia. May many more follow!