Ken Clarke v The European Court

Ken Clark, the Justice Secretary, speaking at the Council of Europe on the Future of the European Court of Human Rights said that the court should have greater regard for the decisions of domestic courts.

Clark said, ‘The UK has always been a strong supporter of the ECtHR. But at times the court has been rather too ready to substitute its own judgment for that of national courts, without giving enough weight to the strength of the domestic legal system, or allowing for genuine differences of national approach.'

The UK is ...
Ken Clark, the Justice Secretary, speaking at the Council of Europe on the Future of the European Court of Human Rights said that the court should have greater regard for the decisions of domestic courts.

Clark said, ‘The UK has always been a strong supporter of the ECtHR. But at times the court has been rather too ready to substitute its own judgment for that of national courts, without giving enough weight to the strength of the domestic legal system, or allowing for genuine differences of national approach.'

The UK is due to take chairmanship of the Council of Europe in November and is intending to 'reform' the European Court of Human Rights.

Other states are attempting to use the conference as a platform to curtail the power and reach of the Court. In response, a consortium of human rights NGOs (including Amnesty International, Interights, EHRAC, Justice, Liberty, the Aire Centre, and the International Commission of Jurists) has issued a joint statement saying, amongst other points:

'The states should not view the independence of the Court as an obstacle to its reform, and should not allow the reform process to be used to put forward grievances against particular aspects of the Courts jurisprudence.'

They also reminded status not to place inappropriate pressure on the Court with regard to its interpretation and application of the Convention. The NGOs also oppose the introduction of fees for applicants. The court itself also opposes it on grounds of principle and because of the extra administrative burdens of that process.

More when we have it.

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