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Draft Protocol No. 16 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms

Opinion 285 (2013)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly debate on 28 June 2013 (27th Sitting) (see Doc. 13220, report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, rapporteur: Mr Chope). Text adopted by the Assembly on 28 June 2013 (27th Sitting).
1. Draft Protocol No. 16 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ETS No. 5, “the Convention”), as submitted to the Parliamentary Assembly in April 2013,Note provides for the possibility for the highest courts of the High Contracting Parties to obtain, from the European Court of Human Rights (“the Court”), opinions on questions of principle relating to the interpretation or application of rights and freedoms defined in the Convention and its protocols.
2. This additional protocol to the Convention, which must be ratified by 10 High Contracting Parties to the Convention before it enters into force, is likely to:
2.1 strengthen the link between the Court and States’ highest courts by creating a platform for judicial dialogue, thereby facilitating the application of the Court’s case law by national courts;
2.2 help shift, from ex post to ex ante, the resolution of a number of questions of interpretation of the Convention’s provisions in the domestic forum, saving – in the long run – the valuable resources of the Court; the speedier resolution of similar cases on the domestic plane will also reinforce the principle of subsidiarity.
3. The Assembly is therefore of the view that this draft protocol, as presently worded, should be adopted by the Committee of Ministers and opened for signature and ratification.