Off-topic, but I keep reading about this story. Some of the comment on it seems confused. The votes-for-prisoners ruling came from the European Court of Human Rights, which was set up under the auspices of the Council of Europe, a talking shop. It is not a European Union body.

While rulings of the European Court of Justice, which is an EU body, are theoretically legally binding on the UK government and present a real problem for governments that don’t want to implement them (domestic courts might force government action), rulings of the ECHR can be safely ignored. The country concerned might be expelled from the Council of Europe, but that hardly seems likely over this issue, and would have only political consequences in any case.

Lawyers: is this right?

Update: Lord Hoffmann’s introduction to a paper from Policy Exchange suggests that English courts tend to follow ECHR rulings, but that there are ways in which we could extricate ourselves from the court.

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