Law and Lawyers noted that the U.K. government had requested the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights to consider the case of Greens and M.T. v U.K. decided by a chamber of the court on 23rd November 2010.
The Grand Chamber has refused and the U.K. now has 6 months from 11th April 2011 to introduce legislative proposals. The blanket ban within the U.K. on prisoner voting was
found to be in breach of the Convention in Hirst v U.K. (No.2) decided in 2005. There will be intense dislike of this within the British government. Their reaction is awaited with interest. See Euronews 21st February 2011 - "Britain promises European Human Rights debate" when the U.K. takes the chairmanship of the Council of Europe.
The media are inaccurate in using the term "appeal" in relation to this process. Article 43 of the European Convention on Human Rights sets out the process. Within 3 months of the date a Chamber judgment, any party to the case, may, in exceptional cases, ask for the case to be referred to the Grand Chamber. A panel of five Grand Chamber judges then sits to decide whether to accept the referral. The panel "shall" accept the request if the case raises a serious question affecting the interpretation or application of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, or a serious issue of general importance. (Paragraph 9.2 of this document is also of interest). Unfortunately, in the Greens and MT case, the panel of five has not given reasons for deciding not to accept the case. Clear reasons, stating at least the key points, are important in judicial decision-making and in enabling the general public to discover, if they so wish, why a court reached a particular conclusion.