Visit by William HAGUE, Visite de William Hague
Meeting beetwen William Hague (l), UK Foreign Secretary and Thorbjorn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe

Podcast: William Hague calls for a “focussed” Strasbourg court

Foreign Secretary William Hague has today confirmed the United Kingdom’s commitment to reforming the European Court of Human Rights.

It wants a more “focussed court,” which is not used as a substitute for national judicial systems, so that the Strasbourg human rights court can be as “strong for the future as it has been in the past.”

Speaking at a press conference today to launch the United Kingdom’s chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers, Hague said change was necessary to allow the court to “operate effectively.”

The Foreign Secretary said: “Human rights are central to our foreign policy. The overarching theme of our chairmanship will be the promotion and protection of human rights. We want the court to be able to uphold human rights but we are worried about its huge workload – a backlog of over 150,000 applications.

“We are worried too that at times it has been too ready to substitute its own judgements for that of national courts and parliaments. We want the court to operate effectively. It is in need of reform and we will use our chairmanship to drive the reform process forward.”

The Foreign Secretary also underlined the United Kingdom’s support for EU accession to the European Convention on Human rights but said “time and trouble” needed to be taken to “get it right” at the beginning.

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