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First request for an advisory opinion concerning the Oviedo Convention submitted to the European Court of Human Rights

Strasbourg 25 June 2020
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First request for an advisory opinion concerning the Oviedo Convention submitted to the European Court of Human Rights

In December 2019, the European Court of Human Rights has received, for the first time, a request for an advisory opinion from the Council of Europe’s Committee on Bioethics (DH-BIO) under Article 29 of the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine (“the Oviedo Convention”). The questions posed by the Bioethics Committee are intended to obtain clarity on certain aspects of the legal interpretation of Article 7 of the Oviedo Convention, with a view to providing guidance for the DH-BIO’s current and future work in this area.

The questions are as follows:

  1. In light of the Oviedo Convention’s objective “to guarantee everyone, without discrimination, respect for their integrity” (Article 1 Oviedo Convention), which “protective conditions” referred to in Article 7 of the Oviedo Convention does a Member State need to regulate to meet minimum requirements of protection?
  2. In case of treatment of a mental disorder to be given without the consent of the person concerned and with the aim of protecting others from serious harm (which is not covered by Article 7 but falls within the remits of Article 26(1) of the Oviedo Convention), should the same protective conditions apply as those referred to in question 1? The request for interpretation will be examined by the Grand Chamber, in application, by analogy, of Chapter IX of the Rules of Court, which concerns advisory opinions under Articles 47, 48 and 49 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The request for interpretation will be examined by the Grand Chamber, in application, by analogy, of Chapter IX of the Rules of Court, which concerns advisory opinions under Articles 47, 48 and 49 of the European Convention on Human Rights.