Blogposts by Tobias Lock

Tobias Lock

University of Surrey

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…)

8 October 2012

Sharing responsibility? The co-respondent mechanism and EU accession to the ECHR

The negotiations on accession by the EU to the ECHR have recently entered their final stage. Representatives of the EU and of the forty-seven parties to the ECHR (the so-called Group 47+1, which has published the reports of its first and second meeting) are scheduled to meet twice this autumn to agree on a final accession agreement. It is likely that it will largely be based on the draft agreement on EU accession, which was made publicly available last year. Once final agreement has been reached, it is very likely that the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) will be asked for an Opinion on whether the agreement is compatible with the EU Treaties. Should the CJEU give the agreement a green light, the ratification process can begin.

This blog entry asks whether the co-respondent mechanism provided for in the draft agreement leads to a sensible allocation of responsibility between the EU and its Member States for violations of the Convention post-accession. (more…)