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Monday, May 31, 2010

Reform of European Court of Human Rights: Protocol No.14 enters into force

Reform of European Court of Human Rights: Protocol No.14 enters into force

Strasbourg, 31.05.2010 – Protocol No. 14 to the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which aims to make the European Court of Human Rights more efficient, enters into force tomorrow.

In a joint statement, Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, and Jean-Paul Costa, President of the European Court of Human Rights, said "the entry into force of Protocol No. 14 represents a crucial step in improving the effectiveness of the Court and the protection of human rights in Europe. The Convention establishes the foundations of a common legal space across Europe. Protocol 14 will permit the Court to concentrate more on cases that raise important human rights issues, so it can play its role most effectively."

“Protocol No. 14 provides the legal basis for the possibility of EU accession to the Convention, to which the EU is commited under the Lisbon Treaty. EU accession will further strengthen the protection of human rights in Europe by submitting the EU’s legal system to independent external control with regard to the rights protected by the Convention, as interpreted by the Court in its case law”, they added.

Protocol No. 14 reforms the Court´s procedures by:

- Reinforcing its filtering capacity to deal with clearly inadmissible applications

- Establishing a new admissibility criterion concerning cases in which the applicant has not suffered a significant disadvantage

- Introducing measures for dealing more efficiently with applications related to issues for which a well-established case law exists, sometimes known as repetitive cases.

Another objective of the reform is to strengthen the role of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers when supervising the execution of the judgments.

The entry into force takes place on 1 June 2010, three months after its ratification by Russia, the last state to ratify it.

Note to editors:

In 2009, 57,200 applications were allocated to a judicial formation of the Court. The backlog reached 119,300 applications. In 2010, 23,800 have so far been allocated to a judicial formation. The backlog has reached 125.900 pending cases.

The Court’s excessive workload is due to two factors in particular: the processing of a great number of applications that are declared inadmissible (more than 90% on which a decision is made), and repetitive cases (around 60% of the judgments every year).

Despite the improvements brought by Protocol No. 14, further reform of the Convention system is necessary. In a high level conference on the future of the Court held in Interlaken (Switzerland) in February 2010, the 47 Council of Europe member states adopted a Declaration and Action Plan proposing work on additional short and medium-term reform measures.

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