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Justice: European Court of Human Rights

Volume 691: debated on Tuesday 8 May 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will consider reforming the law so as to allow the reopening of proceedings in appropriate cases following judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. [HL3416]

It is possible in criminal cases to apply to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) following a successful application to the European Court of Human Rights. For cases to which the Government were party in domestic proceedings, which have then been the subject of a decision of the Strasbourg court against the United Kingdom, the Government would be expected to take such measures as necessary to rectify the position as part of the implementation of the judgment. The Government do not believe that it would be appropriate to make general provision for the reopening of cases between private parties following a successful application by one party to the Strasbourg court. There is a substantial risk that a general ability to reopen proceedings would adversely affect the rights and interests of other parties to domestic proceedings: an application to the Strasbourg court by a unsuccessful litigant in domestic proceedings could take some years to be resolved finally, during which period the other parties, who would not ordinarily be party to the Strasbourg case, could not rely on the conclusion reached in the domestic proceedings remaining final. There is power to include retrospective provisions in remedial orders under the Human Rights Act or in primary legislation to remedy a convention incompatibility.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether, when considering how to implement the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in Hirst v United Kingdom on prisoners' voting rights, they will have regard to the way in which the Government of the Republic of Cyprus have amended legislation to give effect to the judgment by conferring the right to vote on all prisoners remanded in custody. [HL3417]

Prisoners on remand within the UK already have the right to vote, as conferred by Section 7A of the Representation of the People Act 1983. This was introduced in 2000, prior to the European Court of Human Rights judgment in Hirst v the United Kingdom.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How they intend to implement the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights on the common law of contempt of court in the case of Kyprianou v Cyprus. [HL3418]

I refer the noble Lord to the Answer I gave on 7 November 2006 (Official Report, col. WA 119). The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights did not regard it as necessary or desirable in Kyprianou v Cyprus to review generally the law on contempt and the practice of summary proceedings in Cyprus and other common-law systems. The decision by the Grand Chamber was made on the facts of the particular case and the Government do not believe that any change in UK law is needed as a result of this judgment.