ECHR pilot judgements closely examined

Nino Tsereteli, phd candidate at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights (NCHR)/ PluriCourts - Centre for the Study of the Legitimate Roles of the Judiciary in the Global Order - is due for her midterm evaluation. Her thesis will closely examine the legality and legitimacy of the pilot judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.

-The research question is really  two-fold, Tsereteli says.
-It is aimed at clarifying two inter-connected issues, namely, whether the adoption of pilot judgments by the European Court of Human Rights is legal and whether it amounts to a legitimate exercise of authority. These questions are relevant, taking into account the claims by some judges and scholars about illegality/illegitimacy of this judicial innovation, notwithstanding governments' support for this 'proactive' tool throughout the Court's reform process, due to its potential to contribute to solving the Court's caseload crisis.

A Georgian with international flair

Nino Tsereteli is Georgian by birth, holds an LLM in public international law, international criminal law specialization, Leiden University, an LLM in comparative constitutional law, Central European University and is a Master in Law, Iv. Javakhishvili Tblisi State University. She is also a lecturer at the Caucasus School of Law, and prior to joining the NCHR, served as a deputy head of the Department of Representation to International Courts at the Georgian Ministry of Justice, as well as Deputy Agent of Georgia to the European Court of Human Rights. For the last couple of years she has been employed as a phd candidate at the NCHR, affiliated with the Multirights/Pluricourts programmes.

The title of her PhD research project is Legality and Legitimacy of Pilot Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.

Legality and legitimacy

- In the Legality part of my thesis, I look at several alternative explanations, in the absence of an explicit legal basis in the Convention and the Court's clear explanation to that effect. I hope this will clarify the basis and scope of the Court's 'remedial' authority under the relevant provisions of the Convention, Tsereteli says.

As for the Legitimacy part, she highlights legitimacy-generating and legitimacy-eroding aspects of pilot judgments in order to contribute to the normative dimension of discussions on legitimacy. Building on the conclusions related to legal justifiability, she will examine various other indicators of legitimacy, including jurisdictional legitimacy, compatibility of this practice with separation of powers between the Court and the Committee of Ministers, procedural adequacy and effectiveness. She will also assess legitimacy implications of the Court's strategic approach in developing the pilot judgment procedure

Over 50 pilot judgments considered

- In my research, I have so far focused on over 50 pilot judgments, from the groundbreaking Broniowski pilot judgment on the property rights of Bug River claimants, adopted on 22 June 2004, to the most recent pilot judgment of 3 September 2013, M.C. and others v. Italy, on the payment of supplementary allowances in cases of accidental blood contamination.

Apart from the standard pilot judgments, Tsereteli also considers a number of judgments that reveal systemic deficiencies, even though they do not have all the features of standard pilot judgments. The goal is to see where the Court currently stands and what are the prospects of further developing its 'remedial' powers.

- My thesis will build upon the current academic discussions on legitimacy and effectiveness of human rights institutions, Tsereteli says.

- I will also use studies on pilot judgments by London Metropolitan University (up to 2010), combining this with my own interviews with some of the judges and registry officials, so that the analysis is informed by the practical challenges that the Court faces in developing this approach.


By Christian Boe Astrup
Published Oct. 2, 2013 11:03 AM - Last modified June 10, 2014 2:35 PM