Access to justice in the Convention on Rights system
The numerous reforms to the Convention system of the past two decades have unquestionably had an effect on applicants’ means to access justice in the system. It is, however, open to question how these changes should be evaluated: with reference to the individual right to petition, or with reference to a more substantive and general conception of access to justice. This article explores these two approaches to the notion of access to justice both generally and for the Convention system specifically. The main argument of the article is to show the value of taking a substantive approach to access to justice in the Convention system. Thus, it challenges the centrality of the individual right to petition in discussions on reform of the system. Further, to show how taking a different perspective on access to justice may lead to different analyses, an evaluation in the light of both approaches is made of five sets of central changes to the Court’s procedure and its working method. This includes the revised Rule 47, single-judge formations and the priority policy.