As a response to widespread structural or endemic human rights violations, in 2004 the European Court began to issue pilot judgments, the aim of which was not only to exert further pressure on national authorities to tackle systemic problems, but also to stop the European Court itself being inundated with the same types of cases. Fashioned out of its own case law, and underpinned by the principle of subsidiarity, the Court has broken new ground with its pilot judgment procedure, both in terms of its diagnosis of the causes of systemic human rights violations, and the extent to which it is prepared to direct states to legislate, or take other steps, to resolve them.
This study (supported by the Leverhulme Trust) analyses the principal characteristics of the pilot judgment procedure and its application in key cases to date. With case studies on Poland, Slovenia and Italy, a particular focus of the work is the adequacy of the response of national authorities to pilot judgments. It draws conclusions about the effectiveness of the procedure as a means of tackling systemic violations, and makes recommendations for its further development.
Professionals and academics about this book:
‘Let me congratulate the research team for the brilliant work which it has done. Even as an ‘insider’ of the Court, I learned a great deal.’
Erik Fribergh, Registrar, European Court of Human Rights
‘Thank you for your extremely valuable research. This book is very worthwhile reading: on every page, one learns lessons for the future.’
Geneviève Mayer, Head of the Department for the Execution of Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights
'This is a very important study; in the context of debate about reform of the European Court of Human Rights, and as the Court considers how it will apply the pilot judgment procedure in future, the insights in this book are valuable and timely.'
Jill Heine, Legal Advisor, Amnesty International
‘This timely study makes a really important contribution to today's pressing debates about how the European Court of Human Rights can continue to be the most effective guardian of human rights in Europe and the more proactive role required of national institutions. It will be of great interest to all those with a practical concern about the future of constitutionalism, democracy and the rule of law.’
Murray Hunt, Legal Advisor to UK Parliament Joint Select Committee on Human Rights
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