One of the most contentious and difficult legal consequences of a judgment of the European Court of Human Rights is when not (just) an adjustment of national policy or ordinary law is concerned, but when it necessitates a change in a state's constitution. It is in those instances that the age-old discussions of national sovereignty, the role of international law, deference and democracy come to the fore. To go beyond theoretical, doctrinal and political debates, a view at practice may be very useful. In that context, a new document comes in very handy: the Department for the Execution of Judgment's of the Committee of Ministers has produced a new factsheet. It is entitled 'Constitutional Matters', a very useful thematic overview on implementation of the Court's case-law. It includes:
'The Council of Europe’s Department for the Execution of Judgments has published a new thematic factsheet highlighting the impact of the European Convention on Human Rights on constitutional matters across Europe over more than 50 years.
The factsheet summarises 117 relevant cases or groups of cases concerning 32 different Council of Europe member states, dating back to 1968.
It explains how judgments from the European Court of Human Rights – on a wide range of issues including access to justice, free speech and freedom of association – have led to important changes in national legislation or the way in which constitutions are interpreted by national courts.
This is the first in a series of thematic factsheets related to the implementation of judgments from the Strasbourg court. Similar factsheets on environmental issues and effective investigations following actions of security forces will follow soon.
Judgments from the European Court of Human Rights are implemented by member states under the supervision of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers.'