Brighton Conference on ECHR Reform Leaves Work Ahead

Brighton Conference on ECHR Reform Leaves Work Ahead

The Open Society Justice Initiative is urging the 47 member states of the Council of Europe to renew their efforts to address the serious challenges facing the European Court of Human Rights, following this week’s conference in Brighton, England on the future of the court.

The Justice Initiative expresses satisfaction that some of the original proposals aimed at limiting admissibility to the court were not included in the conference’s final declaration.

It is also calling on member states to assume their fair share of responsibility in the months ahead in helping address the court’s backlog of cases.

James A. Goldston, executive director of the Justice Initiative said: “The main threats to the independence and authority of the court have been largely averted, due to resolute action by concerned member states and civil society. Now it is time for governments to address the principal challenges the court faces, by implementing the European Convention at national level, complying with judgments of the court, and providing adequate resources for previously agreed reforms.”

The Open Society Justice Initiative is one of over 90 European and international rights groups that signed a joint statement urging member states to use the Brighton conference to pursue these three objectives. 

The Justice Initiative also expressed regret that the Brighton Declaration proposes amending the European Convention on Human Rights to encourage greater deference by the court to national governments, though this will do little to stem the growing caseload.

It is also disappointed at the proposed reduction from six to four months in the time limit for filing applications to the court after any violation of the convention, a deadline that some legitimate applicants will likely be unable to meet.