Obviously, for Convention changes unanimity is needed. Even if the United Kingdom, and in its slipstream the Netherlands, seem to take a tough stance towards the Court, Belgium, Germany, and Austria seem to be opposed to curtail the Court's supervisory role in human rights protection. France seems to linger between indifference and sympathy for the British plans, according to Le Monde.
According to the Open Society Justice Initiative, this is the Court's own position:
Opinion of the CourtThe full text of the Court's opinion can be read here. See also the analysis of Noreen O'Meara of the University of Surrey on UK Constitutional Law Group Blog.
On 20 February 2012 the European Court of Human Rights sitting in Plenary issued an opinion in preparation for the Brighton Conference, responding to the proposals of State Parties. The Court does not offer a definition of subsidiarity, but does suggest that States must reaffirm their commitment to the system of human rights protection, which requires “making every effort to secure the Convention rights and freedoms at national level and accepting that these efforts are subject to judicial scrutiny at European level”. In a separate speech the President of the Court said that subsidiarity and the margin of appreciation should not be put in the Convention. The Court is unconvinced that the proposed new admissibility criteria “will have any significant impact on the Court’s case-load” as such cases would require “systematic and thorough examination.” Such options might be considered for the long-term reform of the Court, together with the possibility of the court selecting cases for adjudication, where there was an option of referring the cases not taken to another international process or to a national mechanism. The Court identifies four types of cases where reform is needed, and makes initial proposals for reform.
* Inadmissible Cases (Categories VI and VII). The Single Judge procedure will continue to be used. In addition, the Court is considering expanding the new filtering procedure to all countries and applying the six-month rule more strictly, which could be “reduced considerably” given modern communication methods.
* Repetitive Cases (Category V). There are 34,000 of these cases in the system. The Court proposes that a list of the cases is referred to the State concerned for them to be settled in an appropriate way, with judgment to be given in default if redress is not given.
* Non-repetitive, non-priority cases (Category IV). (19,000 cases). The Court proposes to extend the use of the summary procedure for cases that can be dealt with by “Well-Established Case-Law” currently used only for repetitive cases.
* Priority Cases (Categories I, II, III). (6,000 cases). Some will also be repetitive, such as prison condition cases.
So who knows, we might - after all the obstacles of getting the previous change to the Convention ratified - be on our way to a Protocol 15! To be continued and watched closely ...