In what some have considered a “blunt ultimatum”, the Court has just given the United Kingdom a six-month deadline to introduce legislative proposals to amend its laws banning prisoners from voting. At the basis of the Court’s decision, is the government’s 5-year failure to execute the Grand Chamber judgment in Hirst (No. 2), the case concerning prisoners’ voting rights.
The lengthy delay to implement the Hirst judgment, the Court said this week in Greens and M.T. v. the United Kingdom, has resulted in around 2,500 new applications currently pending before the Court. The Court has warned that the number continues to grow with each election that passes noting that there are approximately 70,000 serving prisoners in the UK at any one time, all of whom are potential applicants. So at stake is not only the state’s responsibility under the Convention but also – and more fundamentally – the future effectiveness of the system which the Court rightly views as threatened by the UK government’s continuing non-compliance. Continue reading