PRAGUE resolution on the reform of the European Court of Human Rights

Resolution on the reform of the European Court of Human Rights

The European Bars Federation reaffirms the importance for people from Member States of the Council of Europe of the European Convention of Human Rights signed in Rome, November 4th 1950.

It has considered the preliminary work on the proposed reform. Having consulted the Bars and Law Societies belonging to the European Bars Federation about the actual functioning of the Court, and the proposals for reform.

Declares the following essential principles:

1. that it is opportune to adopt procedural reforms and new means of financing the European Court of Human Rights in order to allow it to deal with applications made to it without in due delay and in accordance with Protocol no. 11

2. that it is opportune to require legal representation once the court is seised of the application with a system of legal aid organised by the court at that stage.

3. that it is not desirable but on the contrary is dangerous to restrict the right of an individual’s access to the European Court of Human Rights by increasing the number of conditions of admissibility and reaffirms the importance of the individual petition as described in article 34 of the Convention.

4. considers that would be desirable to create an interlocutory procedure to allow the national jurisdictions to request the Court to interpret a provision of the Convention.

5. considers that a substantial reduction in procedural delays could be achieved by the appointment of lawyer mediators who would bring together the applicant and the Member State to promote a friendly settlement.

6 that States should be obliged to include at least one lawyer from their nominations for judge of the Court and such lawyer should be chosen by the lawyers of the legal professional representative body in that State.

7. that if a Chamber/Division has decided about the question of admissibility the Court should after having advised the government of the application and exchanged statements of case between the parties communicate the decision of the Juge Rapporteur/Examining Judge.

8. that applications which do not present particular difficulties could be dealt with on the question of admissibility or on their merits or both at the same time by a panel of three judges.

9. welcomes favourably the new jurisprudence of the Court which had treated the provisional measures (ECHR 6/02/2003, Aff. Mamatkulov and Abdurasulovic c/Turkey) and encourages the Court to apply the provisions of article 39, in the ruling of the Court, retaining for the future a wider interpretation of these provision.

10. supports for those cases concerning articles 2 and 3 of the Convention, the right of the parties to demand a hearing before the Court.

11. that it would be desirable for the Court to set out in its decisions the measures required by the State to remedy the violations found in order to avoid the repetition of similar violations

12. considers it opportune that the decisions of the Court should be given in the two languages of the Council of Europe, and also in the language of the country affected by the decision.

13. that it is not desirable to create local Human Rights Courts

14. that all the above is to be considered essential.

General Assembly of Prague June 7th 2003.