By HRC Correspondent, 29 April 2011
European ministers have been pushing ahead with plans to ease the case load of the European Court of Human Rights.
At the end of April, European ministers concluded a two-day conference in the Turkish city of Izmir where they committed to further examine and attempt to streamline the Court's application procedure.
That has included a discussion focused around Article 34 of the Court's founding document, the European Convention on Human Rights, which allows both individuals and companies to bring cases before the Court because it ensures that complaints can be brought by “any person, non-governmental organisation or group of individuals”.
A statement at the close of the conference saw delegates "reaffirm" that they saw this right as a "cornerstone of the Convention mechanism", a move welcomed by NGOs which had called for individual application to be protected in any efforts to reduce the Court's caseload.
The conference, which builds on a similar meeting last year at Interlaken, also gave the opportunity for states to air some of their grievances with the Court.
Over the last few months the British public has become increasingly familiar with the Convention, mainly over the issues of voting rights for prisoners and superinjunctions.
An article published on The Sun's website at the time of conference claimed that the "hated European human rights act" costs the UK more than £9bn a year and explained the law as being "used by celebs to hide their secrets behind superinjunctions".
But as this website testifies, the rights and freedoms protected by the Convention's 59 articles go much further, allowing companies to bring cases over freedom of expression, lack of due process and violations of property rights.