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Request by the German government - a Study on "Individual Access to Constitutional Justice”

21/04/2009

The German government has asked the Venice Commission to conduct a study on "Individual Access to Constitutional Justice". The study could be "a valuable contribution to the promotion of national remedies for human rights violations", the German Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe, Ambassador E. Kölsch, stated in his letter.

In the Venice Commission member states, there exists a variety of possibilities for individuals to accede to constitutional courts or other equivalent courts if their fundamental rights have been violated by a law, and administrative act or a court decision. Many states provide for indirect access through ordinary courts’ preliminary questions or through the Ombudsperson, but also direct access by individual complaint is gaining importance. The comparative study will include annexes with relevant constitutional and legal provisions on the matter.

Broad individual access enhances Human Rights protection at the national level and contributes also to alleviating the European Court of Human Rights’ case load. "Only by improving national human rights remedies we can bring to a halt the ever increasing case-load before the Strasbourg Court", Ambasador Kölsch wrote. The study provides states with information on solutions in other countries, allows them to assess possible shortcomings in their own systems and to use this information for the elaboration of new legal texts.
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