Judicial Quality?

Mr Abu Qatada has extradited from the United Kingdom to Jordan where he will face charges concerning terrorist activity. The extradition process has taken more than eight years. It has largely been a frustrating eight years for the government. Extradition was opposed on various grounds and the opposition upheld by either the Supreme Court in England or the European Court of Human Rights on various grounds relating to Mr Qatada’s human rights. At the end of the process Jordan entered into an extradition treaty with the United Kingdom and changed its laws to prevent evidence obtained by torture being used in ant trial of Mr Qatada.

It is a good result; justice has been served, even though it has taken such a long time. The law of Jordan has been improved and the law of the United Kingdom about human rights has been clarified. The institution that comes out of this with the least credit is, to my mind, the European Court of Human Rights. the court’s processes take far too long and its judges are often lacking in judicial quality. Occasionally its reasoning is poor. When the highest court issues legal judgments of poor reasoning it loses respect. We need to reform the European Court of Human Rights, not the European Convention on Human Rights nor the Human Rights Act.

You can see a list of all the Judges at http://www.echr.coe.int/Pages/home.aspx?p=court/judges&c=#n1368718271710_pointer The court operates on the basis that a judge is nominated from each jurisdiction and from the appointments there seems to be an element of “buggin’s turn” when it comes to choosing judges. This is not the way to ensure judicial quality.

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