Ken Clarke looks to curb ECHR powers
21 December 2011
The Justice Secretary Ken Clarke is looking into introducing some kind of 'filter system' for the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) which would restrict the kind of cases that it could handle.
Working with the Swiss government, the Ministry of Justice is keen to limit the ECHR to dealing with major breaches of human rights rather than the smaller personal claims that are often referred there when they have failed elsewhere.
Clarke told the Joint Committee on Human Rights that many of the Council of Europe's members agree with the proposals. He said the details of the 'filter system' had not been thrashed out but they could include imposing a time limit on cases to cut back on arrears and eliminate inadmissible cases much faster.
"People have been talking about the need for reform for 10 years and I hope during the chairmanship of the UK [of the Council of Europe] we will get it nearer to some finality," Clarke told the committee. "There is quite strong support. The principle of reform is accepted. I would like the London declaration to be more precise and actually have a programme that will lead to change."