Friday 22 April 2016

Conference on Prisoner Voting Rights and the ECHR

The University of Liverpool, in cooperation with the Council of Europe and the PluriCourts project, is organising a two day workshop on one of the most contested ECHR-related issues in the UK: 'Challenges to Implementing the Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights: Dialogues on Prisoner Voting Rights'. The conference will take place in London on 19 and 20 May 2016. This is the organisers' conference summary:

"The effectiveness of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) is dependent on how readily its judgments are executed by the Contracting Parties. This workshop will look at one of the most controversial confrontations between the ECtHR and the Contracting Parties in its history:  the prisoner voting saga. In 2005, the ECtHR ruled that a British blanket ban on prisoner enfranchisement violates Article 3 of Protocol 1 to the Convention. To date, this judgment has not been executed and this forced the ECtHR to deliver a pilot judgment confirming Hirst (No. 2). This subsequent judgment in the case of Greens and MT v. the United Kingdom created a further barrage of public outcry in the UK and has also not yet been executed. In a more recent case of Anchugov and Gladkov v. Russia a similar blanket constitutional ban in Russia was found incompatible with the Convention; it too was not implemented by the respondent party. Simultaneously, states like Austria, Ireland, Latvia and Liechtenstein in contrast to Russia and the United Kingdom, passed laws to enfranchise their prisoners with minimal controversy or fanfare. This project aims to assess why the issue of prisoner enfranchisement is so controversial in some States while it passes unnoticed in others. 

This workshop aims to explore acceptable ways of implementing of prisoner voting judgments in the United Kingdom. The presentations at the workshop will explore the possibility of facilitating national sovereign decision-making and national traditions within the Strasbourg supervisory mechanism. The participants will focus their addresses on the roots of the issue and the possible solutions to the prisoner voting crisis."