Published online by Cambridge University Press: 13 July 2009
One of the key challenges which has always faced the Council of Europe, but which has arguably become even more acute at the beginning of the twenty-first century, concerns what more can be done to improve Convention compliance by member states. Two kinds of non-compliance can be distinguished. ‘Contingent’ breaches – occasioned by specific conduct or decisions occurring within institutions or processes operating in a largely Convention-compliant manner – are likely to lead only to a single or to comparatively few applications to Strasbourg. But, as widely recognized in recent debates, a more serious problem concerns ‘structural’ or ‘systemic’ violations stemming from the character or design of public institutions or processes.
Chapter 6 will consider how these problems might be tackled as a matter of Council of Europe policy. Since this will inevitably involve seeking to encourage those national factors most likely to produce high levels of Convention compliance, it is necessary to begin by seeking, in this chapter, to identify what these might be. First, an attempt needs to be made to determine how Convention compliance could be measured. Second, since this study argues that the scarce resources of the European Court of Human Rights should be targeted more strategically on the least Convention-compliant states, some empirically-grounded picture must, therefore, be obtained as to which countries are in this category.