PACE committee gives green light to plan for Strasbourg Court opinions on points of principle

Strasbourg 27.05.2013 – PACE’s Legal Affairs Committee has given its green light to a proposal which would allow states’ highest courts to obtain opinions from the European Court of Human Rights on questions of principle relating to the interpretation or application of rights and freedoms defined in the European Convention and its protocols.

Approving a draft opinion today in Izmir, prepared by Christopher Chope (United Kingdom, EDG), the committee said Draft Protocol No. 16 to the European Convention – which will enter into force after 10 parties to the Convention have ratified it – would strengthen the link between the Strasbourg Court and the highest courts at national level by creating “a platform for judicial dialogue”.

The change would facilitate the application of the Court’s case-law by national courts and help shift the resolution of questions of interpretation to the domestic forum before they arrive in Strasbourg, saving valuable Court resources and enabling a speedier resolution of similar cases at national level. This in turn would reinforce the principle of subsidiarity, the committee said.

The Assembly is due to debate and adopt a final opinion during its summer plenary session in June.