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Impartiality and the European Convention

Impartiality and the European Convention

The existence of impartiality for the purposes of Article 6§1 of the European Convention of Human Rights must be determined according to a subjective test, that is on the basis of the personal conviction of a particular judge in a given case, and also according to an objective test, that is ascertaining whether the judge has offered guarantees sufficient to exclude any legitimate doubt in this respect.

Under the objective test, when applied to a body sitting as a bench, it must be determined whether, quite apart from the personal conduct of any of the members of that body, there are ascertainable facts which may raise doubts as to its impartiality. In this respect even appearances may be of some importance. It follows that when it is being decided whether in a given case there is a legitimate reason to fear that a particular body lacks impartiality, the standpoint of those claiming that it is not impartial is important but not decisive. What is decisive is whether this fear can be held to be objectively justified.

Elezi v Germany [2008] ECHR 513.

 

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