Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Top human rights job for UK judge

Sir Nicholas Bratza will replace Frenchman Jean-Paul Costa at the helm of the European Court of Human Rights

A British judge has been elected to the top job at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Sir Nicolas Bratza, 66, takes over as president of the court in November after a secret ballot of the Court's 47 judges.

Sir Nicholas has been a judge at the Strasbourg court since November 1998, and one of its vice-presidents since January 2007.

He replaces Frenchman Jean-Paul Costa, who is retiring at the end of his term of office.

However, the choice of a Briton is unlikely to calm increasing political concerns in the UK that the court is passing judgments seen as imposing human rights policy on the Government, from prisoners' voting rights to the rights of illegal asylum seekers to stay in the UK despite incurring serious criminal convictions.

Human rights judges are appointed from the 47 Council of Europe countries to contribute expertise about their national legal systems - but they are duty-bound to act impartially in rulings about the way the Human Rights Convention is interpreted in those countries.

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