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ECHR not ECJ

Geir Madland

By Geir Madland on 23/08/17

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ECHR not ECJ

The ECJ was set up in 1952 and is the European Union's highest court, responsible for ensuring all 28 current EU member states and their institutions comply with EU law. The Government is insistent that the authority of the ECJ must end when Britain leaves the EU in March 2019.

The ECHR, established in 1959 after the UK and ten other countries signed up to the European Convention of Human Rights, is entirely independent of the EU. Today, all 47 member states of the Council of Europe are signatories. Brexit will not affect Britain’s membership.

The ECHR protects freedoms such as the prohibition of torture, slavery, the right to a fair trial and freedom of expression.  The Good Friday Agreement and prisoners’ right to vote also depend on the ECHR.

Despite Michael Gove’s and Theresa May’s earlier plans to leave the ECHR, she has changed her mind after critics warned of potential weakening of citizens' rights.

One commitment of the 2017 Conservative Party manifesto was to rule out repealing or replacing the Human Rights Act until Brexit concludes, however long that may take.