The ELI Council endorses the Statement on Case-Overload at the European Court of Human Rights


In its decision from 6 July 2012, the ELI Council endorsed the Statement on “Case-Overload at the European Court of Human Rights”. Prior to the endorsement the Statement has been discussed by the ELI Council and the ELI Senate. This ELI-project started at the end of December 2011 with the constitution of a small four-member Working Party and an Advisory Committee, composed of insiders and outsiders of the Convention system, practitioners and academics. As the members of the Working Party the Institute appointed Paul Mahoney (UK/Chair), Mark Entin (Russia), Jean-Paul Jacque (France) and Luzius Wildhaber (Switzerland).

The terms of reference given were to prepare a first contribution, under the auspices of the ELI, to the ongoing debate on the future of the Court, by formulating a few practical key ideas regarding case-overload that could usefully be rendered public in a short time-span. The project group did not have as its objective to assess all the various solutions proposed for ensuring the effective functioning of the Court; rather the aim was to recommend measures susceptible, among others, of enhancing the working capacity of the Court while at the same time guaranteeing a high level of protection for European citizens.
The Statement does not preclude further work on the subject of case-overload in the future, as the wider debate on possible reform of the Convention system continues. It is in the interest of European citizens that, as it stands, the caseload of the European Court of Human Rights be acknowledged as an obstacle for the effective protection of human rights in Europe. The ELI Statement does not claim to provide an all-encompassing solution but is aimed at making, from one perspective, a positive contribution to a discourse which is both necessary and challenging. Hopefully, having in mind the mission of the European Law Institute, the paper will serve as a basis for stimulating the ongoing debate both inside and outside the ELI.