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Judicial Self Government and the Sui Generis Case of the European Court of Human Rights

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 March 2019

Abstract

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In this article we explore the operation of judicial self-government (JSG) at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), paying particular attention to how JSG operates in the judicial selection procedures and in the administration of the court. We find that JSG at Strasbourg is highly variable with relatively weak levels of judicial influence on the selection of judges contrasted with a high degree of control over court administration. We go on to analyze how the dual nature of JSG at the ECtHR (strong post-election and weaker pre-election) promotes or hinders a range of values, namely, independence, accountability, transparency and legitimacy. We argue that the JSG practices at the ECtHR prioritize judicial independence at the expense of accountability. The picture with regard to transparency is mixed and while judicial decision making itself is fully transparent, wider JSG practices at Strasbourg are largely non-transparent. We note that legitimacy concerns were a key motivating factor in many of the key JSG reforms undertaken by the ECtHR in recent years and explore whether these have had the desired impact. We conclude by arguing that the differences in reach and form of JSG at the pre and post-election processes strike a careful balance in respecting the separation of powers and the democratic principle.

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Articles
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Copyright © 2018 by German Law Journal GbR 

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