Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke has announced that the UK has negotiated a landmark agreement on reform of the European Court of Human Rights.
The Brighton Declaration has now been formally adopted by all 47 member states of the Council of Europe following talks in Brighton this week.
Mr Clarke said:
'These reforms represent a substantial package of reform and are a significant step towards realising the goals that the Prime Minister set out in Strasbourg.
'Taken together, these changes should mean fewer cases being considered by the court. Those that it considers should be allegations of serious violations or major points of interpretation of the Convention and will be processed without the scandalous delays we are seeing at present.
'The court will not normally intervene where national courts have clearly applied the Convention properly. These reforms strengthen the commitment of all the member states to the obligations of the Convention and will improve the ability of the Court to enforce these obligations sensibly.'
The Council of Europe agreement will tackle issues with the Court by:
- Amending the Convention to include the principles of subsidiarity and the margin of appreciation
- Amending the Convention to tighten the admissibility criteria - so that trivial cases can be thrown out and the focus of the Court can be serious abuses
- Reducing the time limit for claims from six months to four
- Improving the selection process for judges
- Setting out a roadmap for further reform.
Read the full text of the Brighton Declaration.
Read the full press notice on the Brighton Declaration.