15 April 2013
Shared responsibility after EU accession to the ECHR revisited
After almost three years of negotiations a final draft agreement on the accession of the EU to the European Convention on Human Rights has been published (here). I considered it therefore appropriate to revisit some of the criticisms I made on an earlier draft in this blog (here). In line with this blog’s remit, I shall again focus on the issue of shared responsibility and will in particular aim to explain the workings of the co-respondent mechanism, which is the agreement’s central innovation.
As explained in my previous post one of the key challenges for the negotiators of the accession agreement was to create, as required by Protocol 8 to the Lisbon Treaty, ‘the mechanisms necessary to ensure that proceedings by non-Member States and individual applications are correctly addressed to Member States and/or the Union as appropriate.’ The background to this is that it is chiefly the EU’s Member States which apply European Union law. Thus where a provision of EU law is (allegedly) in violation of the ECHR, a claimant will be confronted with an act by a Member State authority and will consequently seek remedies in the courts of that Member State. If these remedies are unsuccessful, the claimant can file an individual application with the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). The respondent in such a case would be the Member State. (more…)