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To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Howell of Guildford on 7 December (WA 167-8), when the first item of correspondence from the United Kingdom Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe (CoE) was sent to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the United Kingdom's impending chairmanship of the CoE relating to possible changes to the rules and procedures of the European Court of Human Rights; who is that representative; and why there has been a 139 per cent increase in applications between 2009 and 2010 sent to the United Kingdom from the European Court of Human Rights on which observations on admissibility and merits are sought.
Discussions on reforming the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), including changes to its rules and procedures, have been ongoing for a number of years. The United Kingdom Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe, Mrs Eleanor Fuller, regularly updates government departments in London about developments in those reform discussions. In reporting on the Interlaken Conference in February 2010, which agreed a Declaration setting out an action plan for reform, the Permanent Representative referred to the upcoming UK Chairmanship of the Council of Europe because the Interlaken Declaration set a timetable for action which coincided with the dates of the UK Chairmanship.
According to the ECHR website 46 applications to the ECHR were communicated to the Government for observations in 2008, 62 in 2009 and 68 in 2010. We are not aware of any particular factors contributing to the increase.