Friday, 14 January 2022

New Book: Putting Human Rights to Work

Philippa Collins, a lecturer at the University of Bristol, has published a book entitled 
Putting Human Rights to Work: Labour Law, the ECHR, and the Employment Relation (with Oxford University Press). 

Here is a short description of the book:

"The very existence of an employment relationship places the human rights of a worker at risk. Employers can, and frequently do, exercise their managerial and disciplinary powers in a manner that interferes with the most fundamental rights of the individual worker. Adequate safeguards against such infringements are necessary if individuals are to receive full protection of their rights. This book examines how far the labour laws of England and Wales offer such guarantees, with a particular focus on dismissal law. The chapters reflect on the relationship between employment, labour, and human rights before conducting a detailed and critical analysis of the scope, shape, and application of domestic employment law. The framework for evaluation is drawn from the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, as it develops a principled and tailored approach to how the rights contained in the European Convention on Human Right should be enforced in working relationships. Statutory mechanisms, such as the law of unfair dismissal, and common law causes of action are examined and found to be lacking in their capacity to vindicate and enforce the human rights of workers. This book culminates in the proposal and elaboration upon an innovative solution, the Bill of Rights for Workers, that would draw on the successes of human rights and labour law instruments to render the Convention rights directly enforceable in the relationship between a worker and their employer."

Monday, 10 January 2022

EIN Colloquium on Implementation of Judgments in French

On 18 February, the European Implementation Network (EIN) in Strasbourg is organising an in-person colloquium on how NGOs and NHRI can effectively participate in the supervision process of implementation of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. The event will take place in French. More information can be found here and this is the announcement of the event by the organisers:

'Les arrêts de la cour Européenne des Droits de l’Homme (CEDH) impliquent souvent, au-delà des mesures individuelles concernant la victime, la mise en œuvre de mesures générales – de nature législatives ou autres - qui ont un impact fort sur l’état des droits humains de tout un chacun dans un Etat. De par leur expertise et leur connaissance du terrain, les ONG et INDH, mais également les organisations professionnelles telles que Conseil des Barreaux ou Syndicat des avocats, sont parmi les mieux placées, à côté des autorités étatiques, pour formuler des recommandations sur les mesures substantielles nécessaires à la bonne exécution d’un arrêt, qui permettront d’éviter des violations identiques à l’avenir. En ceci, la participation des ONG, INDH et organisations professionnelles au processus de supervision de l’exécution des arrêts de la CEDH constitue un élément important pour la protection de l’Etat de droit en Europe, et dans l’UE en particulier.

Pour autant, la participation de ces structures au processus de supervision des arrêts de la Cour reste encore très limitée – seules 5-7% des affaires en ont bénéficié la dernière année – et le processus en tant que tel, ainsi que son potentiel pour la protection de l’Etat de droit dans l’UE, reste méconnu.

Ce Colloque a pour but de sensibiliser et former ONG, INDH et organisations professionnelles au rôle clef qu’elles peuvent et devraient jouer pour accompagner une meilleure exécution des arrêts de la CEDH, et de formuler un Appel, enrichi de recommandations concrètes, envers les institutions européennes, afin que ce volet soit dûment pris en compte dans les rapports et politiques de l’UE en faveur de l’Etat de droit. Un élément essentiel sera l’appel à une plus grande prise en compte des besoins de financements des ONG/INDH dans le cadre du programme « Citoyens, égalité, droits et valeurs », et du volet « Valeur de l’Union » qui est au cœur de ce programme. L’Appel et ses recommandations seront relayés par l’EIN sur la plateforme de la Conférence sur l’Avenir de l’Europe.'

Wednesday, 5 January 2022

The New Year and What is Coming up at the Court

First off, our very best wishes for the new year to all our readers for 2022! Before focusing on a number of matters ahead in the ECHR system, one decision emanating from the Court in the last days of 2021 also deservers attention. So, we start the year with a number of notifications:

1. As the Court announced in one of its last press releases of last year, the much contested dissolution of Russia's oldest human rights NGO Memorial will be reviewed under the ECHR. In the meantime, and as far as we are aware, applying interim measures for the first time in a freedom of association case, the Court requested Russia to suspend enforcing the domestic court decision to close the NGO and its affiliates. This is the message on the ECtHR's own website: 

'On 28 and 29 December 2021 respectively, the International Memorial and the Memorial Human Rights Centre reiterated their request to the European Court of Human Rights under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court to apply an interim measure to prevent their forced dissolution following the adoption of the judgments of 28 and 29 December 2021 by the Supreme Court of Russia and by the Moscow City Court, respectively.

The Court has decided to indicate to the Government of Russia, under Rule 39, that in the interests of the parties and the proper conduct of the proceedings before it, the enforcement of the decisions to dissolve the applicant organisations should be suspended for a period that would be necessary for the Court to consider the application.'

2. Looking ahead, this month will witness one of the Court's most awaited hearings of recent times, the one in the inter-state case Ukraine and The Netherlands v the Russian Federation. Inter-state cases are rare and always very sensitive. The hearing was already deferred from last year and the cases focuses on the downing of infamous Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17 in 2014 above Ukraine during the armed conflict there. Meanwhile, the criminal case against four main suspects in absentia is progressing in Dutch domestic courts, in parallel. The hearing in Strasbourg is now scheduled for 26 January. 

3. And finally, a crucial change for potential applicants will enter into force on 1 February. From then on, the time-limit for submitting a complaint in Strasbourg will be reduced from 6 to 4 months after exhausting domestic remedies. This is the most visible change resulting from the entry into force of Protocol 15 ECHR last year, of which the transition period ends in a few weeks. New applications submitted after 1 February can only be declared admissible if they comply with this new time limit.