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European Court of Human Rights

Volume 699: debated on Wednesday 12 March 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will seek to persuade other member states of the Council of Europe to introduce a pension plan for judges of the European Court of Human Rights to reinforce their independence. [HL2303]

The Government continue to look closely at opportunities to increase judicial independence for judges at the European Court of Human Rights. We are waiting to hear a joint proposal from the President of the Court and the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will seek to persuade other member states of the Council of Europe to ensure that judges of the European Court of Human Rights are appointed in accordance with objective and transparent criteria based on professional qualification. [HL2304]

The criteria for office as a judge of the European Court of Human Rights are set out in Article 21 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which provides that “the judges shall be of high moral character and must either possess the qualifications required for appointment to high judicial office or be jurisconsults of recognised competence”.

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, of which the United Kingdom is a member, has specified that national procedures for the selection of candidates for appointment as a judge at the court should respond to criteria of fairness, transparency and consistency.

The United Kingdom has selection procedures that meet these criteria and which are designed to ensure that the judge elected in respect of the United Kingdom fulfils the requirements of Article 21.

Although national selection procedures are a matter for each member state, we expect that those adopted by other member states would also meet the criteria of fairness, transparency and consistency. To encourage this among other member states, the United Kingdom has shared its own best practice in this regard.