On November 22nd 2016, the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law convened an event Protecting Civil Society in Europe: Challenges and Opportunities for the Rule of Law. The event was chaired by Adrian Di Giovanni – Senior Program Specialist, Law & Development at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and International Visiting Fellow, Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, and introductory notes were given by Richard Clayton – UK member, Venice Commission; Deputy High Court Judge; and 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square; Katerina Hadzi-Miceva Evans – Executive Director, The European Center for Not-for-Profit Law; Natacha Kazatchkine – Senior Policy Analyst, Open Society European Policy Institute; Philip Leach – Professor of Human Rights Law, School of Law, Middlesex University London; and Director of the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC) and Kersty McCourt – Senior Advocacy Advisor, Open Society Justice Initiative. Departing from the findings of the recent reports on serious restrictive laws, striking violations especially on the right to freedom of association, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression and numerous instances where governments fail to implement laws and court judgments protecting civil society, the event aimed to tackle these issues and discuss for how to address them. The speakers elaborated on restrictions to civil society organizations in Europe, but also opportunities for challenging barriers to an effective civil society and practical ways to create supportive frameworks. They also examined responses from the Council of Europe and European Union at a regional level, as well as access to justice for civil society through the lens of the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights, and examples of successful reforms in European countries at a domestic level. The full event report is available here.
Source: British Institute of International and Comparative Law