I spoke to Charon QC earlier about the issue of prisoners’ voting, following Joshua Rozenberg’s recent Guardian Law piece on the subject and the guest post on his blog by John Hirst. We give a bit of background about the ECHR and the European Court of Human Rights before discussing the judgments in Hirst v UK and Frodl v Austria, what the government now has to do legally, what it’s probably thinking about politically and what may happen now.
I’m quite critical of Hirst, in which I think the dissenting majority of five judges was right, and especially of Frodl, in which it seems to me the ECtHR unaccountably distorts Hirst, interpreting it as having laid down principles it expressly avoided laying down and in reality going much further and effectively taking all policy choice away from governments. Well done to Judge Kovler for standing by his dissent in Hirst. Why Judge Jebens changed his mind is unexplained.
You’re welcome to comment here of course – but there’s already a discussion going on at Charon’s blog about it, so you might want to join in there.