Judges call for human rights reform

Andrew Woodcock@andywoodcock
Wednesday 16 November 2011 01:00

Two of Britain's most senior judges yesterday added their voices to calls for reform of the European Court of Human Rights.

The UK is planning to use its six-month chairmanship of the Council of Europe, which began this month, to push the case for reform to make the Court more efficient.

A key issue is reducing the backlog of cases which its 46 judges have to deal with. Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge – the head of the judiciary in England and Wales – told a parliamentary committee that applicants should be required to obtain permission to go to Strasbourg and cases should have a genuine human rights issue at stake. It should not just be a means to challenge a national court's judgment.

Lord Phillips, President of the Supreme Court, told the Joint Committee on Human Rights: "I agree with the basic point being made by Lord Judge. What they ought to be focusing on is cases which raise issues of principle."

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