The Draft Copenhagen Declaration: ‘New Ways’ to ensure a ‘Strengthened Dialogue’?

By Lize R. Glas, assistant professor of European law, Radboud University

When making public its priorities for its chairmanship on 13 November 2017, Denmark already announced that finding ‘new ways’ to ensure a ‘strengthened dialogue’ between the states parties, domestic courts and the Court would be a ‘key objective’. As could be expected therefore, the draft Copenhagen Declaration (Declaration) dedicates a special section to dialogue, entitled ‘Interplay between national and European levels – the need for dialogue and participation’. The dialogue should be mainly about ‘the general development of case law in important areas’ (para. 33, see also paras. 32, 41). Including a message about dialogue fits into a trend: whereas the first two ministerial declarations about the Court (adopted in 2010 and 2011) did not refer to dialogue, the two most recent declarations did. The Brighton Declaration (2012) encouraged ‘open dialogues’ between, among others, the Court and states parties. Comparably, the Brussels Declaration (2015) welcomed the Court’s dialogue with the highest domestic courts. Continue reading

Blog Seminar: The Draft Copenhagen Declaration – Food for Thought

By Janneke Gerards (professor of fundamental rights law, Utrecht University, the Netherlands) & Sarah Lambrecht (affiliated researcher, Research Group Government and Law, UAntwerp, Belgium and law clerk at the Belgian Constitutional Court)

It is a well-known fact that the ECHR system of fundamental rights protection is almost continually under construction. Since the major overhaul of the Court’s structure with the entry into force of Protocol No 11 in 1998, there has been a nearly constant flow of ideas for change. Perhaps, the Court should become more constitutional court-like, or rather enhance its objective of offering individual justice. Perhaps, the Court should more actively steer national interpretations of the Convention, or rather be more restrained and more respectful of national diversity. Surely, the Court should be better equipped to deal with the continuous stream of tens of thousands incoming complaints and to handle their extraordinarily diverse nature, ranging from being repetitive and legally uninteresting to posing new, challenging and complex issues. Continue reading

The EU Court in Luxembourg is raising the bar on LGBT rights

By Sam MacMahon Baldwin, Attorney-at-law (Advokat) at Gorrissen Federspiel

2017 ended with the Strasbourg Court reaffirming the decision from Orlandi and Others v. Italy that Member States must recognize and protect same-sex unions – although the Court did not require recognition of actual same-sex marriage. Now well into the new year, it is the EU Court in Luxembourg that is pursuing LGBT rights and personal dignity. Two cases from January are set to raise the bar for EU Member States. Continue reading

JR and Others v Greece: what does the Court (not) say about the EU-Turkey Statement?

By Annick Pijnenburg, PhD researcher at Tilburg University

25 January 2018 is a date to remember for European refugee lawyers. In Luxembourg, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled in Case C-473/16 that an asylum seeker may not be subjected to a psychological test in order to determine his sexual orientation. At the same time, in Strasbourg, the European Court of Human Rights issued its judgment in the case of J.R. and Others v Greece (application 22696/16), the first one in which it deals with the implementation of the so-called EU-Turkey Statement. The Court’s judgment in J.R. and Others sparked the concern of NGOs, who argue that it ‘gives legitimacy to conditions in hotspot and detention’ under the EU-Turkey Statement. This blog post examines whether J.R. and Others indeed legitimises it and, more generally, what (if any) the implications are for the EU-Turkey Statement. Continue reading

Human Rights Centre submits third party intervention in case concerning legal gender recognition

By Pieter Cannoot, PhD researcher, Human Rights Centre (Ghent University)

The Human Rights Centre of Ghent University[1] has submitted a third party intervention in the case of R.L. and P.O. v. Russia. The case concerns the refusal by the Russian authorities to legally recognise the gender identity of the applicants, who are two transmen. According to the authorities, both applicants did not comply with the condition of sex reassignment surgery. The applicants complain that the requirement to undergo various medical procedures for legal gender recognition violates Article 8 of the Convention. Moreover, R.L. also complains under Article 14 jo. Article 8 of the Convention that the State failed to protect him from discrimination and transphobia by refusing to provide him with identification papers reflecting is male gender identity. The full text of the third party intervention can be found here; the main arguments are summarized hereunder. Continue reading

The Whereabouts Requirement: Does the ECtHR protect the right to respect for private and family life of French sport professionals?

This guest post was written by Cathérine Van de Graaf, a PhD student at Ghent University.

In a judgment on 18 January 2018, the fifth Chamber of the ECtHR found no violation of the right to private and family life in Fédération Nationale des Syndicats Sportifs (FNASS) and Others v France. The case concerned the requirement for a “target group” of sports professionals to notify their whereabouts every day of the year so unannounced anti-doping tests can take place. The Court ruled that public interest grounds justified the “particularly intrusive” interference with the applicants’ privacy.

Continue reading