On Tusday 13th March, Sir Nicolas Bratza (President of the European Court of Human Rights) gave evidence to Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights. Sir Nicolas was accompanied at the session by Mr Registrar Erik Fribergh who dealt with one 3 part question. The interesting session may be viewed here:
Many topics were considered including: why the Convention is viewed by the court as a "living instrument", the question of "dialogue" between the court and both national judges and national Parliaments, advisory opinions as proposed by the UK in the draft Brighton declaration, "subsidiarity" and "margin of appreciation", the proposed changes to criteria for admissibility of cases, the court's workload, the advantages of the European Union itself acceding to the European Convention on Human Rights and the appointment of judges. Judges at Strasbourg are, as Sir Nicolas pointed out, already appointed by a rigorous process and the process includes an election stage. Sir Nicolas considered that the appointments process had improved considerably over the 14 years that he has been at the court.
If you have just over an hour to spare, this session is essential viewing.
See also Parliament's website - Joint Committee hears evidence on human rights judgments
and The Guardian for the view of Anthony Lester QC that the E Ct Hr needs the reforms proposed by the UK. There has also been a proposal that applicants to the E Ct HR are charged fees - The Guardian 13th March - "Outcry over plans to charge E Ct HR claimants."