Justice Minister for the Liberal Democrats, Lord McNally, has denied claims that European judges are “riding roughshod” over UK law.
Speaking on the eve of a summit held in Brighton, which the Prime Minster David Cameron billed as a unique chance to seize power back for national courts; Lord McNally dismissed claims that European judges were riding roughshod.
However, Lord McNally, who has been involved in drawing up the ECHR reforms as Britain chaired the Council of Europe that hosts the court, has admitted that there was more “heat than light” in the debate regarding human rights and that the European Court of Human Rights had a “reputational problem.”
Lord McNally told a conference in Parliament: “I do not believe we have got some great constitutional crisis about foreign judges trying to ride roughshod over British law or British processes.
“The debate around human rights continues to burn furiously in this country but often gives off more heat than light.
“Reasonable people can disagree about how we defend human rights in this country but the debate as it stands is unreasonable.”
Under the proposed ECHR changes, judges in Europe will be urged not to consider applications that have been dealt with properly by national courts; although cases which raise new or serious questions will still go to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
It is believed that should the reforms be implemented it would reduce the ECHR’s backlog of applications and allow serious cases to be dealt with more quickly.