Faculty delegation see Declaration of Arbroath in ‘memorable’ visit to ECtHR

Members of Faculty with the Declaration of Arbroath

A delegation from the Faculty of Advocates found a historic reminder of home on a visit to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

A copy of the Declaration of Arbroath was gifted to the Court some 40 years ago by the Lord Advocate of the day, Ronald King Murray QC, and it has become a prized piece of the Court’s heritage.

Having the chance to view the Declaration was one of many highlights of a “memorable and worthwhile visit.”

The visit coincided with the hearing in the Grand Chamber of the case against the United Kingdom arising from the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes by police in London, and the Faculty members attended the hearing.

Before it began, the President of the Court, Dean Spielmann, offered a public welcome to visiting parties, including the “Scottish Faculty of Advocates.”

Members witnessed the submissions on behalf of the UK government and the family of Mr de Menezes, before attending seminars on a number of aspects of the Court’s work.

Those included roundtable discussions on written and oral advocacy at the Court, on proportionality and the margin of appreciation, and the arrangements introduced last year to manage the Court’s workload.

James Wolffe QC, Dean of Faculty, who led the delegation, said: “The advocates who participated in this visit will have gained a real insight into the work of the European Court of Human Rights - and, in particular, into the effective presentation of cases to that Court.

“They will have a real appreciation of the importance of the written application to the Court, as well as the particular approach which is required at an oral hearing.

“The Faculty was made extremely welcome by the Court - by the President of the Court, at the outset of the Grand Chamber hearing, but also by Judge Robert Spano, who gave up his time to speak to the delegation, and experienced members of the Court¹s staff.

“We are very grateful indeed to all of them for making this such a memorable and worthwhile visit.”

The de Menezes hearing and the Faculty’s welcome can be viewed here.