Wednesday 13 November 2013

Report on the Independence of the European Court

The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has put a memorandum online on 'The need to reinforce the independence of the European Court of Human Rights'. The report, written by rapporteur Boriss Cilevičs of Latvia, seeks to address criticisms on the Court's independence. In doing so, it provides a wide and clear overview of the current situation and the safeguards put in place to secure the Court's independence. The report concludes in its survey that in general a lot of safeguards help to maintain the Court's independence and that, if need be, some minor improvements (although undoubtedly not uncontested) may be made: more concern for the situation of former ECHR judges after their retirement, potentially to suggest a minimum age for candidates to the Court (the rationale being that less career concerns after a term of office may increase one's independence) and to push all state parties to ratify all existing agreements on privileges and immunities of the staff of the Council of Europe. To be continued,  no doubt.

Meanwhile, an exchange of views - also with outside experts - has taken place in Paris a few weeks ago on the basis of the memorandum. The memorandum is also available in French here. Other documents of the Committee can be found here.