First female, Irish President of ECHR

Irish judge Siofra O’Leary has been elected as the new President of the European Court of Human Rights. She is the first female and the first Irish person to be elected to the role.

Justice O’Leary, who succeeds Robert Spano of Iceland, will take up office on November 1, 2022.

Síofra O’Leary, judge in respect of Ireland, elected President of the European Court of Human Rights https://t.co/1VokXYEj4V #ECHR #CEDH #ECHRjudges pic.twitter.com/miMOWLrWrw

— ECHR CEDH (@ECHR_CEDH) September 19, 2022

Justice O’Leary, a native of Dublin, was educated at University College Dublin (BCL) and the European University Institute Florence (PhD). She has been a judge of the European Court of Human Rights (‘the Court’), since July 2, 2015, and has served as Vice-President of the Court since January 2, 2022.

Prior to her appointment to the Court, Justice O’Leary held a number of academic positions and was a référendaire and chef de cabinet at the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs says that the Court is responsible for ensuring the observance by the contracting parties of their obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights and its Protocols.

The President of the Court, who is elected by the plenary Court by secret ballot for a period of 3 years, represents the Court and directs its work, and is responsible for the Court’s relations with the authorities of the Council of Europe. The President presides at plenary meetings of the Court and its Grand Chamber. The President does not take part in the consideration of cases being heard by Chambers of the Court except where he or she is the judge judged in respect of the contracting party concerned.

Ireland assumed the rotating Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on May 20, 2022, a position it holds until November 2022. Details of the Presidency’s program and latest news are available online here and here.

Upon Justice O’Leary’s election, Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said: “I wish to congratulate Judge O’Leary on her election as President of the European Court of Human Rights.

“Judge O’Leary has served with great distinction since her appointment to the Court, and her election as President is a mark of the high regard in which she is held. It is a source of pride that the first female President of the Court should be an Irish judge.

“The Court is central to the protection of human rights, fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law in Europe. Never have these ideals and principles were more important.

“In its capacity as President of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, Ireland is committed to supporting the work of the Court and ensuring its continued effectiveness and independence.”

Minister @simoncoveney has congratulated Ms Justice Síofra O’Leary on her election as President of the European Court of Human Rights.

Read the full statement here 👉 https://t.co/TrUjgxVQWY pic.twitter.com/20fqAAFVvX

— Irish Foreign Ministry (@dfatirl) September 19, 2022

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