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Monday, December 10, 2012

Europe says no to UK on keeping status quo

CASES No. 30
1157th meeting – 6 December 2012
Cases against the United Kingdom

Europe says no to UK on keeping status quo

Judgment of
Final on
Grand Chamber
CM/ResDH(2009)160, DH-DD(2011)139, DH-DD(2011)679E, DH-DD(2012)1106E
The Deputies
1. recalled that in the judgment Hirst No. 2 and the Greens and M.T. pilot judgment the European Court found violations of Article 3 of Protocol 1 due to the blanket ban on voting imposed automatically on the applicants due to their status as convicted offenders detained in prison;
2. recalled further that the United Kingdom authorities had until 23 November 2012 to introduce legislative proposals to amend the electoral law imposing a blanket restriction on voting rights of convicted prisoners in prison;
3. noted with great interest that the United Kingdom authorities introduced legislative proposals to Parliament on 22 November 2012 to amend the electoral law imposing a blanket restriction on voting rights of convicted prisoners in prison, which include a range of options for a Parliamentary Committee to consider;
4. welcomed and strongly supported the announcement made by the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice when presenting the legislative proposals to Parliament that “the Government is under an international legal obligation to implement the [European] Court’s judgment” and “the accepted practice is that the United Kingdom observes its international obligations”;
5. considered that the final version of the legislation that will be proposed to Parliament should be in conformity with the fundamental principles recalled in this announcement;
6. in this respect endorsed the view expressed in the Explanatory Report to the draft bill presenting the legislative proposals, that the third option aimed at retaining the blanket restriction criticised by the European Court cannot be considered compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights;
7. recalled that §115 of the pilot judgment states that the legislative proposals should be introduced “with a view to the enactment of an electoral law to achieve compliance with the Court's judgment in Hirst No. 2 according to any time-scale determined by the Committee of Ministers” and invited the authorities to keep the Committee regularly informed of progress made and on the proposed time-scale;
8. decided to resume consideration of the case at the latest at its 1179th meeting (September 2013) (DH) in the light of the above.

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