The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Happybunny, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. Happybunny macrumors 68000

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    #1
    Why is it countries have so much trouble with this court, when they all signed up to Article 19 of The European Convention on Human Rights?
     
  2. iStudentUK macrumors 65816

    iStudentUK

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    #2
    Err... because sometime governments lose their cases their and have to do stuff they don't want to? I guess that's the whole point of the exercise- making sure governments consistently apply and respect rights across Europe. Sometimes there will be backlash.

    Personally, I think the ECtHR do a damn good job but it's always the more controversial decisions that make it to the press (normally the right wing crazy press who think Human Rights are silly liberal things!).
     
  3. mcrain macrumors 68000

    mcrain

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    #3
    Who is going to be on the court? What powers do they have to enforce their findings? If a country refuses to abide by an Order, how does it get enforced, and by who? How do you resolve conflicts of interest? Can one country "filibuster" a judicial nominee? Can one country use military force to enforce the Convention on Human Rights before the court has ruled on the issue? Can a country stand idly by watching human rights violations occur absent a ruling?

    A convention on human rights makes sense, for many reasons. A court making decisions on that same convention also makes sense, but there are different questions that have to be answered. Many of the questions and answers affect very different national interests than do the convention itself.

    It's far more complicated than I understand, so beyond ^ that, I can't offer much other than guesses.
     
  4. Happybunny thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #4
  5. iStudentUK macrumors 65816

    iStudentUK

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    #5
    What annoys me is here the press tend to group the ECtHR and EU together into 'Europe'. They never explain that the ECtHR predates the EU and has many more member states. I'm pro-EU, but I'm even more pro-ECtHR!
     
  6. Daveoc64 macrumors 601

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    #6
    While I agree it's very misunderstood and the press and national governments treat it very hypocritically, some are concerned that the ECHR is being interpreted too broadly in many cases and that has given the court a disproportionate amount of power.
     
  7. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #7
    The ECtHR is particularly vital for a country that has never had a proper written constitution.

    Its rulings have cut both ways, and been unpopular with both UK political parties. I think it's curbed the worst excesses of British politics, and I think it's doing a good job.
     
  8. iStudentUK, Jan 12, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012

    iStudentUK macrumors 65816

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    #8
    Slight aside for sad law-y people like me- the UK has an uncodified constitution, which means there is no single document you can point to. Some of it is unwritten but things like the Magna Carta, Act of Union and Human Rights Act can be said to from part of it. I studied this last year and it's quite interesting to compare the UK system to somewhere like Germany that has quite a rigid constitution.

    I agree it's done a lot of good here, I think it's one of the big reasons why the UK hasn't been as bad as the US in terms of rights following 9/11. Lots of successful cases against the Uk in recent years, keeping us in check.
     
  9. Happybunny, Jan 12, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012

    Happybunny thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #9
    If it's doing it's job correctly, the court keeps us all in check. Which seeing some politicians words is a very good thing.

    One a side note, I noticed on another thread that British children do not seem to get Civil Studies in their schools. Is that true? (The thread was the break up of the UK)
    It is the norm here on main land Europe.
     
  10. iStudentUK macrumors 65816

    iStudentUK

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    #10
    I think the confusion was the other thread mentioned 'civics' classes, and that's not what they are called here so all us Brits got confused! When I was at school (worryingly that was a good 9 years ago) we had Citizenship classes (aka Social Education) and they were compulsary. I doubt it has changed, the covered everything from different democratic voting systems to smoking.
     
  11. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

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    #11
    I Normally avoid PRSI threads, but this one is pretty obvious. Yes, countries sign up, but choose to ignore the edicts and strictures that they do not like.

    Go to an Italian pizza place...A guy tossing dough with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth....This is common in all aspects of EU policy.

    The UK signs up and adheres to the rules, which is why they are bleating to modify policy.

    If the court rules that the benefit changes currently being implemented by HMG are unlawful, the UK parliament will have to change the law....Which they are attempting to do now.
     
  12. Happybunny thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #12
    Thank you for update.
     
  13. iStudentUK macrumors 65816

    iStudentUK

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    #13
    Actually the ECtHR is arguably the most successful multi-jurisdictional court in the world. The vast majority of rulings are adhered to. Moreover, EU countries are required to abide by the ECHR so there can be more ramifications if those 27 states ignore rulings.

    The point of the convention is also, in most of the 47 signatories, the ECHR can be implemented through domestic courts so human rights issues rarely even get to the central court. (This was actually the reason why the UK had one of the worst records for going to the ECtHR as until 2000 we couldn't do that).

    The system will never be perfect. Some countries like Turkey have a bad reputation at the ECtHR, but others have an excellent record, especially those in the EU. I think that's significant for me, as I'm quite the Euro-phile, as I like the fact that I know my basic rights will be pretty consistent wherever I am in the EU.
     
  14. Happybunny thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #14
    Please note the ECtHR has NOTHING to do with the European Union.
     
  15. bmacir macrumors 6502

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    #15
    Other than being incorrect, yours is a plain racist statement...what does this have anything to do with ECHR?
     
  16. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

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    #16
    Racist? Not at all, simply an example. :mad: This is why I avoid these threads.
     
  17. bmacir macrumors 6502

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    #17
    It is an example that has nothing to do with the subject discussed in this thread. Plus it's incorrect. And racist.

    I am Italian, I live in Italy. I have never seen a waiter cough dough and/or with a cigarette serving pizza.

    see wikipedia :

     
  18. mcrain macrumors 68000

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    #18
    I'm not Italian, I don't live in Italy, but I have seen people cook while smoking. That's the problem with personal anecdotes. Just because you haven't seen it, doesn't mean it never has happened. On the other hand, just because someone saw an Italian throwing dough with a cigarette in their mouth does not mean all Italians are, whatever. It's an anecdote, not racist. Plus, Italian is a nationality, not a race. But hey, I like my pizza with ashes. You could say I like it Pompeii style.
     
  19. bmacir macrumors 6502

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    #19

    I don't even think it was a personal adecdote, that's why I said it was racist. I suspect Macman has never been to Italy.

    Even if it was referred to a real episode, which I am assuming it's not, it would be racist because he said "go to an Italian pizza place" implying that every Italian pizza place would be filthy.

    In fact it's the contrary, we have very strict hygiene regulations that are enforced effectively. Of course,, like in every other place of this world, there can be dirtier places than others.

    Unfortunately dirty restaurants are not limited to Italy, you could find ashes on your fish and chips, hamburger, sushi, onion soup...and so on...:eek:

    :D @ your pizza with ashes.

    PS Racism or racial discrimination can also be used to describe discrimination on an ethnic or cultural basis, independent of race differences.
     
  20. niuniu macrumors 68020

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    #20
    Clearly it's a bigoted remark.

    Anyway, no point pointing out every stupid comment on the internet - not enough hours in the day to deal with them or pedants who'd enjoy wasting even more of your time.

    ---------

    About the Court. Countries like the UK have never undertaken, and I'm sure in my lifetime never will undertake the job of harmonising all existing legislation in accordance with ECHR rulings.

    Much law is found in case law - how do you rewrite that? You simply wait until a test case comes along and then there's a chance that the law can be re-interpreted.

    It's not that countries are being protective over their law (however they are with certain assets), it's simply, as ugly as it is to say.. procedure. Academics, lawyers, judges, students all look forward to test cases as they see an opportunity for law (that they may disagree with) to be changed.

    ECHR rulings are popular topics around the City. Lawyers go and get credits for attending. There is a very pro-ECHR vibe in the UK in many circles.
     
  21. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #21
    Question for you...

    What is the effect of a ruling of the ECHR?

    Does it that judgement automatically enter case law, and therefore have to be recognised by lower courts back in the UK... or is the ruling expected to be enacted as primary legislation?

    Always confused me.
     
  22. northy124 macrumors 68020

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    #22
    You serious, so cases against criminals which they win because they have a cat which the ECtHR deems enough for "having a life in the UK" it is a load of BS.

    I'm all for human rights but not one ruled by a bunch of nancies.
     
  23. firestarter macrumors 603

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    #23
    For every cat owning asylum seeker beloved of the Daily Mail, there's a regular Brit who's sick to death of being stopped by jackbooted Met police thugs whenever they try to take a snap of their home city for their photo album.

    I've got no more desire than you to see troublemakers being granted leave to stay in this country on a technicality, but if that is the price to pay for ECtHR stepping in to preserve our freedoms in other areas, then I'm happy to pay it.
     
  24. iStudentUK, Jan 13, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2012

    iStudentUK macrumors 65816

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    #24
    It's like you know my deepest fantasy, what a great opportunity to discuss English constitutional law! :D

    The UK had a constitutional concept of Parliamentary Sovereignty, and it does what it says- Acts of Parliament are supreme and trump other laws. The signing of the ECHR in the 50s was an act of the executive, not parliament, and so courts were really unable to use the ECHR as it was not created by parliament, plus if it were possible the English law would win anyway.

    Therefore, for many decades the UK technically had a terrible human rights record because loads of cases went straight to the ECtHR. Decisions there would be binding on the UK government, who would pay compensation and change laws/policies as necessary. By changing the laws this then had an effect on English courts.

    However, the Human Rights Act 1998 expressly incorporated the ECHR and means English courts can apply it and look at case law as the ECHR is now also English law. The ECtHR is now the place of final appeal. The HRA 1998 instructs courts to interpret other domestic laws in line with it as far as possible (courts have really stretched definitions using this). If it cant be interpreted they can declare the domestic law incompatible. That does not void the law (that would violate Parliamentary Sovereignty) but creates political pressure for the law to be changed.


    I believe that case was heard in a domestic court, and the cat was not really part of the decision. Don't trust the Daily Mail, and really any reporting of court cases. Journalists create controversy by selective quotes, and are often unable to understand a judgement. (To be fair it takes practice and training to be able to understand judgements, I doubt journalists can distinguish 'ratio' from 'obiter').

    EDIT- Found a copy of the final judgement, it was actually heard by an Immigration Tribunal. You can see the cat was referred to, but as a joke. It didn't form part of the judgement. Here is a link to a word doc- http://www.ait.gov.uk/Public/Unreported/IA145782008.doc
     
  25. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #25
    I'll set 'em up... ;)

    That's interesting stuff. I did a term of introductory law ('for engineers') as part of my degree. Fascinating subject.
     

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