Advertisement

Advisory Opinions of the European Court of Human Rights: Do National Judges Really Need This New Forum of Dialogue?

  • Małgorzata Wąsek-Wiaderek
Chapter

Abstract

On 1st August 2018 the Protocol No. 16 to the ECHR entered into force providing for the new channel of dialogue between highest courts and tribunals of the High Contracting Parties and the European Court of Human Rights. Although the Protocol has so far been ratified by only eleven States-Parties to the European Convention on Human Rights, advisory opinions delivered at the requests of their courts and tribunals will certainly have high precedential value. The interpretation of the rights and freedoms provided by the ECtHR sitting in Grand Chamber formation will have general application, also with reference to individual complaints brought under Article 34 of the Convention against States which are not Parties to the Protocol No. 16. This contribution will focus on some key aspects of this new path of judicial dialogue. It will touch upon the question whether the new advisory jurisdiction of the ECtHR is an appropriate tool for strengthening the principle of subsidiarity, as envisaged in the preamble of Protocol No. 16. It could be argued that the procedure applied to examination of individual complaints by the ECtHR leaves no space for conducting real judicial dialogue. An individual complaint may be brought to the Court only after final resolution of the case by domestic courts. Thus, the court responsible for final outcome of the case has no opportunity to provide the ECtHR with other arguments concerning interpretation and application of the Convention than these included into the case-file of domestic proceedings, usually completed a few years earlier. Article 3 of Protocol No. 16 as well as the Rules of the Court offer the opportunity for almost adversarial exchange of arguments between judicial interlocutors. Moreover, parties to the domestic proceedings may also be allowed to submit their observation in the case. Thus, at least in theory, the new advisory jurisdiction of the Court creates a mechanism for judicial dialogue which should potentially result in strengthening the principle of subsidiarity. The contribution will also address the challenges posed by advisory jurisdiction to domestic courts and the ECtHR itself. In particular it will focus on the effects the advisory opinions should have on the requesting court and on the courts of the States Parties to the Protocol no. 16 Furthermore, impact of advisory opinions on the courts of States which, like Poland, decide not to ratify Protocol No. 16 will also be analysed. It is mentioned in the literature that the new advisory jurisdiction may undermine the legitimacy and standing of the Court in the eyes of national courts. The contribution provides arguments defending the contrary view that proper use of this path of dialogue should enhance the trust between judicial interlocutors.

Keywords

European Convention on Human Rights Judicial dialogue Advisory opinions 

References

  1. Amos, M. (2012). The dialogue between United Kingdom Courts and the European Court of Human Rights. International & Comparative Law Quarterly, 61(3), 558–559.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bodnar, A. (2014). Res interpretata: Legal effects of the European Court of Human Rights judgments for other states than those which were party to the proceedings. In Y. Haeck & E. Brems (Eds.), Human rights and civil liberties in the 21st century (pp. 223–262). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brighton Declaration adopted on 18–20 April 2012. Retrieved April 5, 2019, from http://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/2012_Brighton_FinalDeclaration_ENG.pdf
  4. Dicosola, M., Fasone, C., & Spigno, I. (2015). The prospective role of Constitutional Courts in the advisory opinion mechanism before the European Court of Human Rights: A first comparative assessment with the European Union and Inter-American system. German Law Journal, Special Issue – Preliminary References to the CJEU, 16, 1387–1428.Google Scholar
  5. Elliott-Kelly, J. (2012). Al-Khawaja and Tahery v United Kingdom. European Human Rights Law Review, 1, 1–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. European Court of Human Rights, Preliminary opinion of the Court in preparation for the Brighton Conference, adopted on 20 February 2012, para 27. Retrieved April 5, 2019, from http://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/2012_Brighton_Opinion_ENG.pdf
  7. Garlicki, L. (2011). Komentarz do art. 46. In L. Garlicki (Ed.), Konwencja o Ochronie Praw Człowieka i Podstawowych Wolności. Tom II. Komentarz do artykułów 19-59 oraz Protokołów dodatkowych (pp. 349–363). Warsaw: C. H. Beck.Google Scholar
  8. Giannopoulos, C. (2015). Considerations on Protocol no. 16: Can the new advisory competence of the European Court of Human Rights breathe new life into the European Convention on Human Rights? German Law Journal, 6, 337–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Górski, M. (2017). The dialogue between selected CEE courts and the ECtHR. In A. Wyrozumska (Ed.), Transnational Judicial dialogue on International Law in Central and Eastern Europe (pp. 233–296). Łódź.  https://doi.org/10.18778/8088-707-7.05 Google Scholar
  10. Grabenwarter, C. (2009). Europäische Menschenrechtskonvention. Wien: C. H. Beck.Google Scholar
  11. Gragl, P. (2013). (Judicial) love is not a one-way street: The EU preliminary reference procedure as a model for ECtHR advisory opinions under draft Protocol no. 16. European Law Review, 38(2), 229–247.Google Scholar
  12. Grzegorczyk, P. (2008). The effect of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights in the domestic legal order. Polish Yearbook of International Law, 28, 39–82.Google Scholar
  13. Izmir Declaration adopted on 27 April 2011. Retrieved April 6, 2019, from http://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/2011_Izmir_FinalDeclaration_ENG.pdf
  14. Lübbe-Wolf, G. (2012). How can the European Court of Human Rights reinforce the role of national courts in the convention system? Human Rights Law Journal, 32(1–6), 11–15.Google Scholar
  15. Meyer-Ladewig, J., & Petzold, H. (2005). Die Bindung deutscher Gerichte an Urteile des EGMR – Neues aus Straßburg und Karlsruhe. Neue Juristische Wochenschrift, 1–2, 15–19.Google Scholar
  16. O’Leary, S., & Eicke, T. (2018). Some reflections on Protocol No. 16. European Human Rights Law Review, 3, 220–237.Google Scholar
  17. Paprocka, A., & Ziółkowski, M. (2015). Advisory opinions under Protocol No. 16 to the European Court on Human Rights. European Constitutional Law Review, 11(2), 274–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Peters, B. (2012). Germany’s dialogue with Strasbourg: Extrapolating the Bundesverfassungsgericht’s relationship with the European Court of Human Rights in the preventive detention decisions. German Law Journal, 13, 757–772.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Report of the Group of Wise Persons to the Committee of Ministers, adopted on 15 November 2006 r., CM(2006)203. Retrieved April 6, 2019, from https://search.coe.int/cm/Pages/result_details.aspx?ObjectId=09000016805d7893
  20. Rinceanu, J. (2017). Judicial dialogue between the European Court of Human Rights and national supreme courts. In C. D. Spinellis, N. Teodorakis, E. Billis, & G. Papadimitrakopoulus (Eds.), Europe in crisis: Crime, criminal justice and the way forward. Essays in Honour of Nestor Courakis (pp. 1029–1041). Athens: Ant. N. Sakkoulas Publishers L.P. http://crime-in-crisis.com/en/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/54-RINCENAU-KOURAKIS-FS_Final_Draft_26.4.17.pdf Google Scholar
  21. Tremblay, L. B. (2005). The legitimacy of judicial review: The limits of dialogue between courts and legislature. International Journal of Constitutional Law, 3(4), 617–648.  https://doi.org/10.1093/icon/moi042 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Małgorzata Wąsek-Wiaderek
    • 1
  1. 1.John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Department of Law, Canon Law and AdministrationLublinPoland

Personalised recommendations