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Reforming the European Court of Human Rights: An Ongoing Challenge

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image of Nordic Journal of International Law

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) plays a unique and central role in upholding human rights in Europe, but in recent years has experienced a huge increase in its workload. The exponential growth in the number of individual applications has and continue to pose a serious threat for the effectiveness of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) system and it can be argued that it is the biggest challenge the ECtHR has been faced with in its history. Despite the substantial increase in its productivity and its output in general, the caseload continues to rise considerably, putting the effectiveness and credibility of the ECHR system in serious danger. Even with the reform of Protocol No. 11 that the ECtHR went through in 1998, its caseload had continued to rise sharply. The need for a second major reform was stressed only a few years after the drastic reform of 1998. There have been various efforts to make the ECtHR more effective and accessible, which have led to the 2004 "reform package" of measures that address the issue of ECtHR's excessive case-load, including Protocol No. 14 to the ECHR. This article provides analysis and critical evaluation of the ongoing efforts to reform the ECtHR in order to guarantee its long-term effectiveness.

Affiliations: 1: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki; International Law, London Metropolitan University; Human Rights and Social Justice Research Institute, London Metropolitan University


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