Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Book Launch on ECHR and Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Next month, the new book of Paul Johnson (University of York) entitled 'Going to Strasbourg. An Oral History of Sexual Orientation Discrimination and the European Convention on Human Rights' (Oxford University Press, just published this month), will be launched at a special event in London. This is the book's abstract;

'Since its inception, the European Convention on Human Rights has been a beacon of hope to gay men and lesbians in Europe. Going to Strasbourg: An Oral History of Sexual Orientation Discrimination and the European Convention on Human Rights provides a comprehensive account of how individuals in the United Kingdom have utilized the Convention, by way of making applications to its organs in Strasbourg in order to challenge sexual orientation discrimination.

Combining an exhaustive analysis of Strasbourg case law with nineteen unique oral histories of applicants, legal professionals, and campaigners, this book is the definitive history of the role that 'going to Strasbourg' has played in eradicating discrimination and establishing legal equality on the grounds of sexual orientation in the UK.' 

The book launch will feature, apart from the author, short talks by Lord Cashman and a number of former applicants in Strasbourg. For more information on attending this special event, see here.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

New ECHR Readings

More new ECHR readings, as the start of the academic and work year is nearing:

The June issue of the Human Rights Law Review (Volume 16, Issue 2, 2016) includes:

*Sandra Fredman, 'Emerging from the Shadows: Substantive Equality and Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights', pp. 273-301.
* Dinah Shelton, 'Significantly Disadvantaged? Shrinking Access to the European Court of Human Rights', pp. 303-322. 

The September issue of the same journal includes:

* Saïla Ouald Chaib, 'Procedural Fairness as a Vehicle for Inclusion in the Freedom of Religion Jurisprudence of the Strasbourg Court',  pp. 483-510. 
* Eleni Polymenopoulou, 'Does One Swallow Make a Spring? Artistic and Literary Freedom at the European Court of Human Rights', pp. 511-539. 
* Andrew Dyer, 'Irreducible Life Sentences: What Difference have the European Convention on Human Rights and the United Kingdom Human Rights Act Made?', pp. 541-584.

Other readings: 

* Nikos Vogiatzis, The Admissibility Criterion under Article 35(3)(b) ECHR: A 'Significant Disadvantage' to Human Rights Protection?', International and Comparative Law Quarterly, Vol. 65, Issue 01 (2016) pp 185-211.

* Miles Jackson has posted on ssrn: 'Freeing Soering: The ECHR, State Complicity in Torture, and Jurisdiction' (European Journal of International Law, forthcoming). This is the abstract:

Over the last ten years, there have been numerous cases of ECHR-state party complicity in torture by foreign states. Some of these cases have been entirely extraterritorial – that is, the victim is never within the territory of the complicit state. Applying the orthodox rules of attribution in international law and the current understanding of the jurisdiction under Article 1 ECHR, these cases of extraterritorial complicity would seem not to lead to the responsibility of the complicit state under the Convention. In other words, the ECHR allows states to facilitate acts of torture abroad where they could not do so at home. 
This is an unprincipled gap in the protections provided by the Convention.This article argues (i) that this unprincipled gap may be overcome by re-imagining the rule in Soering as a preventive complicity rule and extending it to other forms of complicity in torture, and (ii) that such a re-imagination is supported by doctrine and principles deeply embedded in the case law of the European Court. An expansive interpretation of Article 1 ECHR to capture cases of state complicity in extraterritorial torture would be justified.

* Spanier, Benny; Issi Dorron, Israel and Milman-Silvan, Faina have posted on ssrn: ‘In Course of Change? Soft Law, Elder Rights, and the European Court of Human Rights’, Law and Inequality 34(1), pp. 55-86. This is the abstract: 

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) is a significant human rights tribunal. The European convention on Human rights (ECHR) is the only applicable instrument for the ECtHR and there is no explicit expression of older persons’ rights there .One of the key international instruments aimed at promoting the rights of older persons are “soft law”. Up to day, no study has attempted to explore the usage of “soft law” in cases brought before the ECtHR on issues concerning the rights of older persons.
The question is to what extent is the ECtHR aware of the soft law that addresses rights of older persons? Does the wealth of soft law on the matter of older persons permeate the Court? Allegedly, these norms could be used by older persons or by the Court when they negotiate and determine the rights of older persons.
A total of 1,503 judgments were delivered to older persons from the 12, 680 overall judgments at the period between January 1st 2000 and January 1st 2011 (11 years in total). These 1,503 judgments constituted the “study population” and the database for this study. Basic descriptive analysis was performed on this population. Due to limited time and resources, we used stratified random sampling of 226 judgments, which were fully analyzed for this study. 
The study’s findings show that, with very high probability, no soft law legal Instruments that address older persons were mentioned in the ECtHR’s judgments and claims. As a rule, the court has made sparse use of soft law (not of older persons) in adjudicating cases that concern the older persons. When the judges do turn to soft law in those cases, it is for general topics rather than specific issues of aging or older person's rights.
The study demonstrates the usefulness of a recommendation created by the Council of Europe itself such as the recommendation adopted on 2014 to promote the human rights of older persons. It is encouraging that the ECtHR is not blind to soft law, and it makes use of it. The effort required now is to increase awareness and transition to practical use of this law. The struggle over elder rights needs to include judicious entry to the Court. Success in using soft law before the ECtHR would constitute realization of the potential of soft law that has yet to be realized.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

New Book on Non-Refoulement under ECHR and CAT

In this quiet Summer time, the topic of forced migration remains topical as ever. Thus, the publication of a new book on non-refoulement is very welcome. Dr Eman Hamdan (University of Geneva) has written 'The Principle of Non-Refoulement under the ECHR and the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment' with Brill Publishers. This is the abstract: 

'In this study, Eman Hamdan examines the protection against refoulement under the European Convention on Human Rights and the UN Convention against Torture, with the aim to determine which of those Conventions affords better protection for international protection seekers.

Hamdan explores the scope and content of the principle of non-refoulement under both Conventions and the application of the principle to the immigration control measures and the extraordinary rendition operations.

The author provides a comprehensive and comparative analysis of the case-law of both the European Court of Human Rights and the UN Committee against Torture on the procedural and substantive aspects of the principle of non-refoulement, in order to help practitioners to determine which of these human rights treaty bodies is more favorable for their specific non-refoulement case.

This book was chosen to participate in the Professor Walther Hug Prize 2014-2015, which is a prize for the best legal researches in Switzerland for each academic year.'

Thursday, 7 July 2016

New Book on Criticism of the Court

Patricia Popelier, Sarah Lambrecht, and Koen Lemmens have just published an edited volume entitled 'Criticism of the European Court of Human Rights.  Shifting the Convention system: Counter-Dynamics and the National and EU Level.' The book was published in Intersentia's law and Cosmopolitan Values Series. The full table of contents can be found here. This is the abstract:

"For some time now, the European Court of Human Rights is under substantial pressure. From a case overload crisis it stumbled into a legitimacy crisis with regard to certain countries. This should be taken seriously, since scholars warn that institutions with eroding legitimacy risk demise or reform. The goal of this volume is to explore how widespread this critical attitude of the European Court of Human Rights really is. It also assesses to what extent such criticism is being translated in strategies at the political level or at the judicial level and brings about concrete changes in the dynamics between national and European fundamental rights protection. The book is topical and innovative, as these questions have so far remained largely unexplored, especially cross-nationally.

Far from focusing exclusively on those voices that are currently raised so loud, conclusions are based on comparative in-depth reports, covering fifteen Contracting Parties and the EU.

With contributions of Olgun Akbulut, Tilmann Altwicker, Katarzyna Blay-Grabarczyk, Anna Gamper, Janneke Gerards, Krystyna Kowalik-Bańczyk, Sarah Lambrecht, Koen Lemmens, Lubomir Majerčík, Giuseppe Martinico, Roger Masterman, Aaron Matta, Christophe Maubernard, Armen Mazmanyan, Katharina Pabel, Eszter Polgári, Patricia Popelier, Clara Rauchegger, Michael Reiertsen and Henrik Wenander."

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

New Court Videos

The Registry has put new training videos in its series 'COURTalks-disCOURs' online. The videos were made together with the Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals Programme (HELP) of the Council of Europe. The videos of around 25 minutes give an overrview of the Court's jurispriudence in two thematic areas:

The videos are now available in English and French. In the near future, subtitles in many more languages will be provided. The videos are accompanied by full written versions of the spoken text in the videos.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Handbook on European Law on Access to Justice

After an early Summer break, I am back at posting on here. Europe's institutions may be under a lot of pressure, but at least cooperation between the European guardians of human rights is still working. The EU's Fundamental Rights Agency and the European Court of Human Rights have just launched together the 'Handbook on European law relating to access to justice'. It is available in online open access format, not just in English, but also in French. Versions in several other language will follow. This is the editors' summary:

Access to justice is an important element of the rule of law. It enables individuals to protect themselves against infringements of their rights, to remedy civil wrongs, to hold executive power accountable and to defend themselves in criminal proceedings. This handbook summarises the key European legal principles in the area of access to justice, focusing on civil and criminal law.

The handbook seeks to raise awareness of the relevant legal standards set by the European Union (EU) and the Council of Europe, particularly through the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights. The handbook is designed to serve as a practical guide for lawyers, judges and other legal practitioners involved in litigation in the EU and in Council of Europe member states, as well as for individuals who work for non-governmental organisations and other entities that deal with the administration of justice.

The publication focuses principally on civil and criminal law. It covers such issues as a fair and public hearing before an independent and impartial tribunal; legal aid; the right to be advised, defended and represented; the right to an effective remedy; length of proceedings; and other limitations on access to justice. It also examines access to justice in selected areas: victims of crime; people with disabilities; prisoners and pre-trial detainees; environmental law; and e-justice. 

Friday, 27 May 2016

Court's Annual Overview Series

The European Court of Human Rights has now made available in print, through Wolf Legal Publishers, its new series 'Overview of the Case-Law of the European Court of Human Rights'. This yearly reflection of the Court's jurisprudence - a reprint from the Court’s Annual Report - highlights judgments and decisions which, in the view of the Court's Jurisconsult, raise new issues or important matters of general interest. Print editions of 2014 and 2015, in French and in English, are now available. This is the abstract:

'Every year, the European Court of Human Rights delivers a large number of judgments and an even greater number of decisions, thus adding to its already formidable body of case-law. This can make it difficult for people outside the Court to know which cases break new ground or address new issues. An increasingly important aspect of the Court’s work has thus become to identify such cases and to disseminate them in a convenient and accessible format.

This new annual Overview series, available in English and French, seeks to respond to that need by focusing on the most important cases the Court deals with each year. All the cases are selected by the Court’s Jurisconsult’s Directorate on the basis of their jurisprudential interest. In addition to the cases chosen for publication in the Court’s Reports of Judgments and Decisions, they include a number of other cases that raise issues of general interest, establish new principles, or develop or clarify the case-law. The approach has been to draw attention to the salient points, allowing the reader to appreciate the jurisprudential significance of a particular case.'

Monday, 2 May 2016

The ECHR and the UK - The Tragedy in the Form of Comedy

In the past two weeks, with the United Kingdom's referendum on a potential Brexit approaching, the UK's Government has been speaking with an increasingly incoherent number of voices. Home Secretary Theresa May favours the UK remaining in the European Union but leaving the European Convention of Human Rights (see her speech in this report here), whereas Justice Secretary wants the UK to leave the EU, but remain in the ECHR, while ignoring the rulings of the Court. Some people have already described the Government's position as totally incoherent. In the fine British tradition of humour of Monty Python, a group of actors (Patrick Stewart, Adrian Scarborough and Sarah Solemani) have tackled the issue head-on in a marvellous short sketch called "What has the ECHR ever done for us?", now to be seen on the website of The Guardian. Well worth watching!

Friday, 29 April 2016

The Russian Response to the Prisoner Voting Judgment

The voting rights of prisoners under the European Convention on Human Rights continue to be the object of debate in some countries - whereas in others it is not an issue at all, one may add. In this context, much attention usually goes to the United Kingdom's situation, but it is interesting to see that very recently a Russian Constitutional Court judgment also related to the issue. It deserves attention from an international audience. I am therefore hereby presenting a critical and vocal guest post by three academics on this recent Russian judgment:

Imaginary Dialogue and Fictitious Collaboration: Russian Response to the Prisoner Voting Judgment

written by: Kanstantsin Dzehtsiarou (University of Liverpool, UK), Sergey Golubok (Double Bridge Law, Russia) and Maxim Timofeev (European Humanities University, Belarus/Lithuania)

Since 2005, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR or the Court) has been facing a major challenge: its prisoner voting case-law is met with hostile criticism, at least in some Contracting Parties to the European Convention on Human Rights. In this confrontation with the European Court, the UK stands together with countries like Russia and Turkey. On 19 April 2016, the Russian Constitutional Court (RCC) has added yet another page to this growing saga. In this blogpost, we will first briefly describe the Court’s case-law on prisoner voting rights and focus on the Russian response to it. Secondly, we will analyse what the most recent decision of the Russian Constitutional Court actually says and what it means. Finally, we will analyse the judgment of the RCC from the perspective of international law and how it might impact the authority of the Strasbourg system of human rights protection.

A brief history of the prisoner voting case-law

The prisoner voting saga began in 2005 when the Grand Chamber of the Court delivered its judgment in the case of Hirst v UK (No 2). In that case, the Court ruled that blanket indiscriminate and automatic disenfranchisement of convicted prisoners violated Article 3 of Protocol 1. This judgment happened to be problematic. First, it deals with a very unpopular group of people – convicted criminals. Secondly, to execute this judgment Parliament needed to change national law. This meant that the members of Parliament could use this opportunity to boost their popularity through vocal and persistent opposition to the lifting of the prisoner voting ban. And, finally, the respondent state in this case was the UK which is known for its rather suspicious attitude to the ECtHR. Execution of this judgment is indeed challenging, despite the Court’s constant reminders that it needs to be executed. For instance, in 2010 the Court delivered a pilot judgment in the case of Greens and M.T. v UK in which it gave the UK six months to introduce legislative proposals designed to secure compatibility with the Convention. In 2011, the UK House of Commons has overwhelmingly voted against amending the law in this area. When this blogpost was written (April 2016) Hirst No 2 had not been executed yet.

While the Court clearly stated that an automatic and general ban on prisoner voting is not compatible with the Convention, it did not explain which system would comply. In the following decade the Court tried to fine tune its standards in this area. In the case of Frodl v Austria the Court ruled that the decision of disenfranchisement should be made by a national judge in each individual case and only if the offence can justify this disenfranchisement. By doing so, the Court narrowed down the margin of appreciation of the Contracting Parties but this narrow standard did not last long. In the Grand Chamber judgment in Scoppola v Italy (No 3), the Court reconsidered Frodl and concluded that the Italian system that limited disenfranchisement to those who are sentenced to 3 years or more is compatible with the Convention even though national judges do not consider this question in the sentencing stage. The Court thereby departed from its stricter regime of individualised disenfranchisement. These were the optimistic days of the prisoner voting saga: Austria has executed Frodl without major issues and there was no violation in Scoppola No 3, so, Italy did not need to amend its laws at all. Having said that, the scope of what is required from the Contracting Parties has been reviewed again in the recent case of Söyler v Turkey. In Turkey, the prisoner voting ban is not absolute – those who committed involuntary crimes can vote. The ECtHR has nevertheless found a violation because the voting ban imposed on those who committed intentional crimes is tougher than the one in the UK or Italy. For example, those prisoners who are conditionally released still cannot vote until their main sentence is over. The judgment in Söyler is not executed yet.

In 2013, the Court delivered a judgment in the case of Anchugov and Gladkov v Russia and this judgment has a potential to be one of the most challenging judgments in the Court’s history. The provision on disenfranchisement of prisoners is enshrined in the Constitution of Russia, in its entrenched part which can only be amended by adoption of a new Constitution. The Russian authorities have argued that the constitutional nature of this ban makes the case in Russia different to Hirst No 2 but the Court rejected this argument and found a violation of Article 3 of Protocol 1.

Prisoner voting saga: Russia strikes back

In Anchugov and Gladkov, the ECtHR invited the RCC to interpret the Russian Constitution in such way that it would comply with the Convention (para. 111). The RCC did not do that: the response of the Russian authorities to this judgment of the ECtHR came in three steps. The first step was the judgment of 14 July 2015 in which the RCC claimed that in exceptional situations the national authorities can depart from their international obligations when the compliance would lead to breaches of the principles of the Russian Constitution. The second step were the amendments to the Law on the RCC which were passed by the Russian Parliament on 14 December 2015. They provided the RCC with the powers to declare execution of an international obligation impossible if it contradicts the Constitution. It should not come as a surprise that the first request to consider whether the execution of an ECtHR judgment is compatible with the Russian Constitution came in relation to Anchugov and Gladkov v Russia.

In its judgment of 19 April 2016, the RCC started out by reiterating the main gist of its earlier judgment of 14 July 2015: although the Convention (as well as the judgments of the ECtHR) is part of the Russian legal system, the Constitution has supremacy in the national legal order. Thus, according to the RCC, the case at hand cannot be decided by virtue of “subordination”, it may only be solved through a “dialogue”. The latter, however, should be based on “the ECtHR’s respect towards national constitutional identity”. The RCC decided that the “constructive dialogue” was possible only under the condition that the last word should always belong to it, not to the ECtHR which will thus be deprived of its role of a guardian of the Convention.

As it has been stated above, the ECtHR invited the RCC to re-interpret the Russian prisoner voting ban and squeeze it within the parameters of European case-law. Instead, the latter Court has characterised the ban as “imperative” and concluded that it cannot be construed as allowing the federal legislature to lift the ban, even partially. The RCC relied heavily on the textual interpretation of the Constitution and for the first time in its history, deployed the travaux préparatoires of the Constitution. These arguments lead to a deadlock between the prisoner voting case-law of the ECtHR and the case law of the RCC.

The RCC questioned the Court’s methods of interpretation, specifically the evolutive interpretation of the Convention when the ECtHR interprets the Convention “in light of the present-day conditions”. The RCC stressed that Russia “has the right to insist” on the original meaning of Article 3 of Protocol 1. This claim is problematic as it makes little sense to interpret the Convention solely on the basis of its “accepted” meaning when Russia acceded to the Convention (in 1998 mid-way through its history). Both technological and social changes have to be reflected in the case law of the ECtHR. Otherwise, the ECtHR would turn into an instrument of human rights mummification and become ineffective. 

After stating that evolutive interpretation should not be applicable in this context, the RCC nevertheless assessed the quality of the reasoning of the ECtHR. The RCC stated that the lack of European consensus on the issue of the prisoner enfranchisement deprives the ECtHR’s judgments on this matter of a sound foundation. The RCC has twisted the facts here: instead of counting only those countries which have banned prisoners to vote, it counted all states in Europe which have some limits on prisoner voting. Although, the ECtHR has never claimed that all limitations should be lifted in this area. As a result of this convenient counting the RCC concluded that there was no consensus on the issue of prisoner voting.

These arguments were supposed to substantiate the first paragraph of the operative part of the judgment of 19 April 2016 which declared that the ECtHR judgment is unenforceable because compliance with the general measures stemming from Anchugov and Gladkov would require enfranchising of some prisoners and this goes against the meaning of the Russian Constitution.

This judgment, however, has a second paragraph in its operative part which states that Anchugov and Gladkov is actually enforceable without any constitutional or legislative amendments. According to the RCC the Russian prisoner voting ban is not general, automatic and indiscriminate.

It is hard to explain how these two paragraphs of the operative part can be reconciled in one judgment; moreover, the ECtHR has clearly stated that the constitutional ban in Russia is blanket and automatic. The RCC has offered the following reasons to substantiate this point.

First, the RCC stressed that there are criminal penalties like arrest or compulsory labour that have elements of deprivation of liberty. According to the RCC these modes of punishment might fall within the scope of deprivation of liberty under the ECHR and not under the Russian Constitution. Secondly, the RCC basically reiterated the argument of the Russian Government in Anchugov and Gladkov (para. 91) highlighting that the ban on the right to vote affects only those who were convicted of criminal offences “sufficiently serious to warrant an immediate custodial sentence” and that domestic courts exercise a thorough examination of all the relevant circumstances concerning the seriousness of the crime and defendant’s personality. The UK authorities used the very same argument in Hirst No 2 (para. 77) and the Court has also rejected it. In effect, the RCC held that the ECtHR had erred in Anchugov and Gladkov in its assessment of Russian law on prisoner enfranchisement as general and indiscriminate.

Finally, the RCC advised the Russian parliament to reclassify some custodial regimes such as “settlement colonies”. In these colonies the liberty of inmates is restricted but to a lesser degree than in prisons. Those who committed involuntary crimes and less dangerous intentional crimes can serve their punishment there. Reclassification would mean that the inmates in settlement colonies will cease to be prisoners. This little trick would exempt them from the reach of the constitutional ban.  

Even if the Russian parliament follows the obiter dictum advice of the Constitutional Court and amends the legislation enfranchising some convicts held in “settlement colonies” it might not be enough to implement Anchugov and Gladkov as it would not reach the standard set by the ECtHR. Having said that, it is naive to expect that this will ever happen given that this wish vaguely expressed by the RCC is not binding upon the Russian legislator. It was not even the issue before the RCC. In fact, the question before the RCC was whether to render the judgment of the ECtHR effectively unenforceable. The RCC succeeded in doing just that. 

To sum up, the key aspect of the judgment of 19 April 2016 is that Anchugov and Gladkov cannot be implemented because the ECtHR’s interpretation of the Article 3 of Protocol 1 is in a direct contradiction with the explicit constitutional ban. At the same time, the RCC has suggested that Anchugov and Gladkov, as construed by the RCC, can be executed without any legislative amendments, since there is no absolute voting ban in Russia.  Having said that, one does not get a sweeter taste in one’s mouth no matter how many times one says “halvah”. One should not be misled by expressions like “constructive and mutually respectful dialogue” or “compromise”, as well as the RCC’s assurances as to its genuine search for possible solutions. The truth behind this word play is plain: no dialogue, no trade-offs, and no respect to international obligations. 

Prisoner voting in Russia: wider repercussions

From the standpoint of international law, the issue is relatively straightforward. Under Article 27 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, a state may not invoke the provisions of its internal law as a justification for its failure to comply with a treaty. This provision is of course fully applicable in relation to the ECHR. The judgment of the ECtHR in Anchugov and Gladkov v Russia remains valid internationally but it cannot now be enforced domestically. We argue that this will have the following consequences.

The first consequence is the denial of justice to the applicants who were successful in Strasbourg. They are left with the judgment of the ECtHR in their favour which is unenforceable. We know from the jurisprudence of the Strasbourg Court itself that the right to have the judgment in one’s favour enforced forms a part of the right to have an effective access to justice. The right to individual application enshrined in Article 35 of the ECHR is rendered illusory if domestic courts can effectively undermine the legal effect of the judgment of the ECtHR.

Another consequence is more drastic and far-reaching. It is about the integrity and legitimacy of the Strasbourg system. The RCC permitted itself to slap the European judges on the wrist. This gesture is strongly symbolic; the RCC went further than any other court in Europe in criticising the judgments of the ECtHR. If no strong reaction follows on the part of the Convention institutions, such as the Court and the Committee of Ministers, the Russian stance might become contagious – not only in future cases of the same sort that might come before the RCC but also in other jurisdictions. For example, the UK Home Secretary Theresa May has recently accused the ECHR of doing nothing to force states like Russia to effectively protect human rights. This statement is hypocritical as persistent refusal of the UK to execute Hirst No 2 has undermined the authority of the ECtHR in this area. From the political perspective the judgment of the RCC is similar to the UK position on this matter. The constant questioning of the Court’s judgments undermines its authority. Erosion of the legitimacy of the ECtHR may become unstoppable. This process takes time, but it is hard to reverse and its ultimate result can be damning: rendering the Council of Europe obsolete.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Conference on Prisoner Voting Rights and the ECHR

The University of Liverpool, in cooperation with the Council of Europe and the PluriCourts project, is organising a two day workshop on one of the most contested ECHR-related issues in the UK: 'Challenges to Implementing the Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights: Dialogues on Prisoner Voting Rights'. The conference will take place in London on 19 and 20 May 2016. This is the organisers' conference summary:

"The effectiveness of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) is dependent on how readily its judgments are executed by the Contracting Parties. This workshop will look at one of the most controversial confrontations between the ECtHR and the Contracting Parties in its history:  the prisoner voting saga. In 2005, the ECtHR ruled that a British blanket ban on prisoner enfranchisement violates Article 3 of Protocol 1 to the Convention. To date, this judgment has not been executed and this forced the ECtHR to deliver a pilot judgment confirming Hirst (No. 2). This subsequent judgment in the case of Greens and MT v. the United Kingdom created a further barrage of public outcry in the UK and has also not yet been executed. In a more recent case of Anchugov and Gladkov v. Russia a similar blanket constitutional ban in Russia was found incompatible with the Convention; it too was not implemented by the respondent party. Simultaneously, states like Austria, Ireland, Latvia and Liechtenstein in contrast to Russia and the United Kingdom, passed laws to enfranchise their prisoners with minimal controversy or fanfare. This project aims to assess why the issue of prisoner enfranchisement is so controversial in some States while it passes unnoticed in others. 

This workshop aims to explore acceptable ways of implementing of prisoner voting judgments in the United Kingdom. The presentations at the workshop will explore the possibility of facilitating national sovereign decision-making and national traditions within the Strasbourg supervisory mechanism. The participants will focus their addresses on the roots of the issue and the possible solutions to the prisoner voting crisis."