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(J)udicial powers should be wrestled back from Strasbourg and courts given enhanced latitude in interpreting decisions, according to a leaked draft of the British plan for reforming the European court of human rights.

The 12-page document circulated to the other 46 member states of the Council of Europe is intended to cut the backlog of cases waiting to be heard at Strasbourg and empower national courts.

Britain currently holds the council's chair and has embarked on a diplomatic offensive to galvanise support for far-reaching reform of the court.


The paper, titled High Level Conference on the Future of the European Court of Human Rights, will be debated at an international conference in Brighton in April at the end of the UK's six-month term of office.Some details have not been finalised and alternative options are included in certain sections.

It has not been released to parliament but follows along broad lines set out by David Cameron.

The content may nonetheless alarm civil liberties groups who fear that international standards could be diluted in favour of allowing individual states greater leeway on sensitive human rights issues.

The document argues for expanding what is known as the "margin of appreciation", the way in which states may choose how to implement the different articles of the European convention on human rights.

It states: "The principles of subsidiarity and the margin of appreciation should be enhanced by their express inclusion in the convention." It suggests that the "necessary amending instrument" should be endorsed within a year.


Britain plans reform of the European court of human rights | The Guardian - 2012-02-28

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