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House of Lords
Session 2002-03
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European Union Committee Publications

European Union - Sixth Report

Here you can browse the report which was ordered by the House of Lords to be printed 3 February 2003.


CONTENTS

REPORT

ABSTRACT:
PART 1: INTRODUCTION

Introduction

The options: the Charter and/or the ECHR

The options

The inquiry

PART 2: BACKGROUND

The political mandate

The Convention on the Future of Europe

The Working Group on the Charter

Call for evidence

Fundamental rights as general principles of Community law

The Charter

Current status of the Charter

A Constitution for the European Union

Mode of incorporation

PART 3: INCORPORATING A BILL OF RIGHTS INTO THE EU CONSTITUTION

Introduction

Incorporating the Charter—the case/arguments in favour

(a) Greater transparency, legal certainty

(b) Enforceable rights

(c) A tailor-made Bill of Rights

(d) The credibility of the European Union

(e) Simpler and more speedy exercise than accession to the ECHR

Incorporating the Charter—the arguments against

(a) Balance of responsibilities between European institutions and national governments—extending Union competence

(b) Implications for acts and policies of Member States -impinging upon Member States freedom of action

(c) Not in a fit state to be incorporated

(d) Lack of homogeneity—rights, principles, aspirations

Incorporating the ECHR into the Treaties in preference to the Charter

Incorporating the ECHR—the arguments for

(i) Already well-established common ground

(ii) Known enforceable rights

Incorporating the ECHR—arguments against

(i) Limited scope of ECHR

(ii) The Union should have its own Bill of Rights

(iii) Dynamic but not tailor made

(iv) Would not necessarily avoid confusion and divergence of approach

Conclusions on incorporation of the Charter

The horizontal clauses

The Commentary

Charter should not extend EU competence

Limited application to acts of Member States

Incorporation—warts and all

PART 4: ACCESSION TO THE ECHR

Introduction

Views of witnesses

The benefits of accession

(i) Incorporation of the Charter in no way diminishes the importance of accession to the ECHR

(ii) Subjecting the Union, its institutions and bodies to a specialist external arbiter

(iii) Unifying effect of common external control

(iv) Removing conflicts and inconsistencies

(v) Enforcing ECHR obligations

(vi) Removing an apparent double standard

Potential problems and difficulties ahead

(a) EU or EC accession/the legal personality question

(b) Member States' reservations

(c) The autonomy of the Community legal order

(d) The relationship of the Strasbourg and Luxembourg courts

The domestic remedies rule

Problem that both courts are overburdened with a backlog of cases

Re-appraising the case for accession

A combination of the Charter and accession to the ECHR

PART 5: REVIEW OF ECJ JURISDICTION AND OF REMEDIES

Introduction

(i) The jurisdiction of the Court of Justice

Common Foreign and Security Policy

Justice and Home Affairs/Third Pillar

The bodies

(ii) Remedies for/enforcement by the individual aggrieved—the standing rule

PART 6: CONCLUSIONS

General

Specific/detailed

Recommendation

Box 1: Extract from our Report EU Charter of Fundamental Rights

Box 2: The horizontal clauses with the amendments (shown in bold print) proposed by the Convention Working Group

Appendix 1: Membership of the Sub-Committee

Appendix 2: List of Witnesses

The Rt Hon Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC, Parliamentary Secretary, and Mr Mark de Pulford,

Lord Chancellor's Department

Oral evidence, 25 November 2002



 
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