On July 4th, a group from the ARU London Law Society visited the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The students were provided with a valuable chance to engage in a three-day immersion programme focused on the topic of human rights, alongside prominent legal professionals from several European countries. Anita Strashimirova-Sharif, Lilia Grimalschi, and Olga Hrabatin have been selected for representation of ARU London Law Society in a Grand Chamber hearing concerning the cases of Nealon v. the United Kingdom and Hallam v. the United Kingdom.
The cases concern the refusal to compensate the applicants for a miscarriage of justice in the Criminal Justice Act 1988 as amended by the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. The two applicants, Victor Nealon and Sam Hallam, had their convictions quashed after those convictions were found to be unsafe. Their subsequent applications for compensation for a miscarriage of justice were refused on the basis that a new or newly discovered fact did not show beyond reasonable doubt that they had not committed the offences (this being the statutory test for a “miscarriage of justice” applicable at the relevant time).
Furthermore, the individuals in question were granted the privilege of engaging in a discussion with Judge Tim Eicke, who was appointed Queen's Counsel in 2011 and was subsequently elected as Britain's judge in the European Court of Human Rights in 2016. Additionally, Judge Diana Sarcu, who represents the Republic of Moldova, was also present during this meeting.
Prominent topics under discussion include the Death sentence, Police authority, and the abuse of power within the criminal justice system.
The visit from Judge Sarcu was received with warm hospitality. Anita, Lilia, and Olga together explored the several significant chambers inside the court premises. The Court has the capacity to convene in a plenary session, which consists of a Grand Chamber of fifteen justices, including the president and vice-president. Alternatively, the Court may also convene in smaller chambers consisting of either three or five judges. Plenary sessions are now infrequent, with the court mostly convening in chambers consisting of three or five justices. In the context of the judiciary, it is observed that each chamber independently selects its own president. The duration of the presidency varies depending on the chamber type, with five-judge chambers having a three-year tenure, while three-judge chambers have a one-year term.
In accordance with the provisions outlined in the treaties, the Court is obligated to convene in its whole under extraordinary circumstances. In some circumstances, the court may choose to convene in its entirety, particularly when the matters at hand are deemed to possess extraordinary significance. The convening of a Grand Chamber is a prevalent practise, often occurring when a Member State or a Union institution involved in specific procedures explicitly asks it, or in instances characterised by exceptional complexity or significance.
The court functions as a collective entity, with judgements being attributed to the court as a whole rather than to individual justices. Minority views are not provided, and the notion of a majority decision is emphasised above unanimity.
The members of the Law Society in ARU London had the opportunity to see the application process from other nations, the methods used for case categorization, and the significance of collaborative teamwork.
On behalf of the members of the ARU London Law Society, we express our gratitude to Judge Tim Eicke and Judge Diana Sarcu for graciously dedicating their time and extending their hospitality. Furthermore, we are pleased to report that the judges have agreed to participate in one of the sessions organised by our society. The Judges will provide our students with the valuable opportunity to gain knowledge and insights via the sharing of their experiences.
ARU London Law Society visits the European Court of Human Rights