Candidates for next UK judge at Strasbourg revealed

Jessica Simor QC
Jessica Simor QC

The candidates competing to be the next British judge at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) have been named, The Guardian reports.

Tim Eicke QC, Jessica Simor QC and Murray Hunt are all looking to fill the vacancy created by the forthcoming retirement of Paul Mahoney, who turns 70 in September, the compulsory age of retirement from the court.

Mr Eicke is a barrister at Essex Court Chambers. He is fluent in German and took silk in 2011. Last year he represented the Home Secretary at the Supreme Court on a case centring on statelessness.

Ms Simor, who speaks fluent French, is a barrister at Matrix Chambers. She took silk in 2013 and appeared for Privacy International and the Open Rights Group at the European Court of Justice this month in a case against the UK government over surveillance.

Mr Hunt is a former barrister and legal adviser to Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights and a founder of Matrix Chambers as well as a visiting professor at Oxford University.

Claire Montgomery QC, of Matrix Chambers, said: “They have got a really interesting list with three genuine experts. The advantage Jessica Simor has is that she has a lot of knowledge of how the Court of Justice works.

“There’s going to be such a crossover between Strasbourg and Luxembourg because of the Charter Of Fundamental Rights. Simor has also worked for the European Commission. She has real expertise and is an excellent candidate.”

The candidates’ applications will be put before a Council of Europe sub-committee to ensure they meet the standards of the court. The Council’s Parliamentary Assembly will then vote, with the successful candidate taking up their post immediately before the EU referendum on 23 June.

Candidates must “be of high moral character and either possess the qualifications required for appointment to high judicial office or be jurisconsults of recognised competence”.

The salary, which is tax-free, is currently €200,000 (£155,000).

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