Prisoner Voting Saga: Reasons for Challenges
in B Dickson and H Hardman (eds) Electoral Rights in Europe Advances and Challenges (Routledge 2017 Forthcoming)
23 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2017
Date Written: June 11, 2017
The judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Hirst No 2 v the United Kingdom presented a massive challenge. In Hirst No 2 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that blanket ban on convicted prisoners’ voting is a violation of Article 3 of Protocol 1. The Court has imposed a very strict standards in the area in which it arguably has not even had proper jurisdiction. The judgment contained very powerful dissenting opinions and did not reflect the common European approach to prisoner voting. This ruling put the Court’s legitimacy at risk and the Court had and still has to ‘spend’ its reputation on prisoner voting while there are much more crucial human rights problems in Europe. Moreover, the ruling in Hirst No 2 was the first one of the prisoner voting cases that caused political and constitutional confrontation between the ECtHR and the Contracting Parties. In this chapter, the discussion of Hirst No 2 is placed in the context of political pushback to the prisoner voting cases.
Keywords: Hirst No 2 v the United Kingdom, European Court of Human Rights, voting rights, European Convention on Human Rights.
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