Evidence call: Protocol 15 to European Convention on Human Rights

08 July 2013

The Joint Committee on Human Rights is committed to ensuring that international treaties with significant human rights implications are subjected to proper parliamentary scrutiny before they are ratified by the executive, and that there is a meaningful opportunity for civil society to inform that scrutiny

Protocol 15 to the European Convention on Human Rights, which was signed by the UK on 24 June 2013, will amend the Convention to give legal effect to five changes agreed by Member States in the Brighton Declaration on the future of the European Court of Human Rights, adopted on 20 April 2012 at the conclusion of the UK’s Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.   A copy of Protocol 15 can be accessed here:

and the accompanying Explanatory Report adopted by the Committee of Ministers can be accessed here:

The changes made to the Convention by Protocol 15 include the following:

  • (1) adding to the Preamble of the Convention a reference to the principle of subsidiarity and the doctrine of the margin of appreciation;
  • (2) changing the rules on the age of judges of the Strasbourg Court, to ensure that all judges are able to serve a full nine-year term;
  • (3) reducing the time limit for applications to the Court from six months to four months; and
  • (4) amending the admissibility criteria in the Convention to make it easier for the Court to screen out trivial applications.

The Committee intends to report to Parliament during the 21 day period in which the treaty is laid before Parliament prior to its ratification. It invites comments on any aspect of the Protocol from any interested person or organisation.

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