Pilot judgments: the European Court of Human Rights, from judge to legislator

Author:
Joana Abrisketa Uriarte
Profesora titular de Derecho internacional público y relaciones internacionales, Universidad de Deusto (España) / Associate professor of Public international law and International Relations, University of Deusto (Spain)

Abstract:
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has employed the pilot judgment procedure since the case of Broniowski c. Poland (2004). The procedure is considered one of the most creative measures developed by the ECtHR for dealing with repetitive cases (or «clone cases» as they are better known) derived from the same underlying systemic problem within a State. Inasmuch as the Court recognizes the existence of a problem of these characteristics, it adjourns proceedings involving identical cases and requires the State to adopt general measures. Thus, in the pilot judgment procedure, the individual dimension of an application is diluted —that is, as a subjective right— and there is a tendency to make applications more objective. At the same time, and on a very closely related matter, Protocol 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights introduces new elements that seek to provide guaranties for the enforcement of the judgments adopted by the ECtHR. This article analyses the extent to which the pilot judgments of the Court transcend their solely declarative nature making the judge in effect a legislator.

Index:
1. INTRODUCCIÓN.—2. LAS SENTENCIAS PILOTO DEL TRIBUNAL EUROPEO DE DERECHOS HUMANOS: ORIGEN Y CARACTERÍSTICAS GENERALES.—2.1. El caso Broniowski c. Polonia.—2.2. Los rasgos de las sentencias piloto.—2.2.1. Una respuesta a un problema sistémico subyacente.—2.2.2. La indicación de las medidas generales a adoptar.— 2.2.3. El efecto suspensivo del proceso.—2.2.4. La justificación y las críticas.—3. LAS SENTENCIAS PILOTO EN EL MARCO DE LA ENTRADA EN VIGOR DEL PROTOCOLO NÚM. 14.—3.1. El principio de subsidiariedad.—3.2. La objetivación del recurso.—3.3. El fortalecimiento de la ejecución de las sentencias.—3.4. La responsabilidad del Estado agravada.— 4. CONCLUSIONES.

Keywords:
enforcement of judgments; European Court of Human Rights; general measures; pilot judgments; Protocol 14; subsidiarity principle;

Issue:
REDI Vol. LXV 1 2013

Section:
Studies

Pages:
73-99

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