“Reform of the Court of Human Rights: opening for signature of Protocol No. 15”

Strasbourg, 24.06.2013 – Protocol No. 15 amending the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms was opened for signature by member states at a ceremony held today at the Council of Europe headquarters in Strasbourg.

 According to the case-law of the Court, states have a margin of appreciation in the way they apply the Convention, depending on the circumstances of the case and the rights at issue.  This reflects the fact that the Convention system is subsidiary to the safeguarding of human rights at national level.  Accordingly, Protocol No. 15 introduces into the preamble of the Convention an explicit reference to the principle of subsidiarity and the doctrine of the margin of appreciation.  It also introduces other changes, including reducing from six to four months the time-limit within which an application may be made to the Court following the date of a final domestic decision. 

This Treaty is the outcome of the work carried out as part of the reform of the Court.  At the Interlaken (2010) and Izmir (2011) Conferences, the member states unanimously agreed that it was essential to reform the Convention supervisory mechanism in order to ensure its long-term effectiveness and to this end adopted action and follow-up plans.  The Declaration adopted at the Brighton Conference (2012) contained a number of specific proposals to ensure the success of this reform, to which Protocol No. 15 is a direct response.

Protocol 15 was signed at the ceremony today by the following states: Armenia, Andorra, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Austria and Sweden plan to sign Protocol No. 15 on Tuesday 25 June.

Protocol No. 15 will enter into force once it has been ratified by all member states.


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