Q & A: Reform of the European Court of Human Rights

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The 47 member states of the Council of Europe will debate proposed reforms of the European Court of Human Rights at a meeting in Brighton, England, from April 18-20. A draft declaration prepared by the United Kingdom, which currently holds the chairmanship of the Council of Ministers, has provoked concern among human rights groups, including the Open Society Justice Initiative. While we welcome reforms including those that would enhance the domestic implementation of ECHR judgments, we believe some of the proposed changes could weaken the Court, now widely recognised as the world’s leading human rights tribunal. The following Q & A seeks to explain those concerns.