Lunch seminar with Marco Bocchi

The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) has been deemed the most effective system worldwide for judicial protection of human rights. Despite the achievements of the Convention, the overwhelming amount of applications received by the ECtHR in the last decade has raised concerns as to the viability of the current system.

Some authors state that the ECtHR has been victim of its own success and is currently at risk of collapse. Fundamentally, two kind of reasons have led to such a dramatic increase of claims against fundamental rights violations: the presence of structural violations in the Member States legal orders and the enlargement of the Council of Europe.

Both reasons arose from three kinds of large-scale human rights violations: systemic problems with the functioning of the judiciary and the rule of law, problems of transitions and legacies of recent armed conflicts.

The pilot judgment procedure (PJP) has been developed in order to tackle this situation. The PJP was first conceived as a judicial remedy and later has been codified in the ECtHR rules of procedure. The Convention does not contain any provision of the PJP and, consequently, the procedure is not formally binding for the Member States.
In the proposed project, my very first objective is to offer a critical approach of the theoretical and legal basis of the PJP, as well as of its motivations and prospects of success, in the light of the relationships between national and international law.

I also argue that the implementation of PJP in national legal systems is fundamental in order to solve systemic problems, which afflict some municipal legal orders.
The success of PJP depends on States willingness to cooperate. Since the PJP addresses a broader situation, implementation of judgments could be called its Achilles’ heel. In fact, the implementation of a pilot judgment requires more than simply paying compensation in an individual case: legislative, and sometimes political, changes are always necessary at the municipal level.

In conclusion, the proposed project wants to show that the PJP may be a viable way out to avoid the collapse of the Strasbourg system and the best instrument to provide clear guidelines for the Member States on how to effectively protect fundamental rights. Surely, in the enlarged Council of Europe, the comfortable certainties of the West European Countries belong to the past. Today, States are called to do more to protect the fundamental rights.

The success or failure of the whole system of human rights protection in Europe depends to a large extent upon the implementation of the Court’s judgments in the national legal orders.

Registration: For participation in the event please use this registration form no later than 8 February, 11:00.

You are welcome to bring your own lunch bag.