Human rights barrister’s tweet flagging Corbyn ECHR clanger goes viral

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European Court of Human Rights is ‘in part an EU institution’, according to Labour leader

📸 BBC (The Andrew Marr Show)

Jeremy Corbyn dropped a major legal clanger over the weekend after describing the European Court of Human Rights as “in part an EU institution”. The Labour Party leader’s error came during an interview on The Andrew Marr Show and was quickly seized upon by Adam Wagner, a human rights specialist at Doughty Street Chambers.

In a fiery interview with Andrew Marr, Corbyn said:

“On human rights issues I have made it very clear all the way through that we [Labour] would maintain our support and membership for the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Court of Human Rights, which is only in part an EU institution.”

Following Corbyn’s assertion that the (ECHR) is “in part an EU institution”, Wagner quickly pointed out that it was in fact “a totally separate institution, arising from a separate treaty which well pre-dates the EU”. Embarrassingly for Corbyn, Wagner’s presumably well-meaning correction has garnered nearly 4,000 retweets.

In a series of follow-up posts, the Doughty Street barrister said Corbyn’s “very basic” error was a direct result of our country’s “leaders” failing “to grasp the detail of what the EU actually is.” Wagner continued:

“The right wing press have been *deliberately* confusing the EU and the ECHR for years to sow discontent. It’s not good enough — politicians should educate themselves.”

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Brothers! Sisters!

We need to tax money law greed to pay for legal aid and teachers salaries and pensions!

We need to impose a windfall tax on partners drawings!

Young folks in their twenties don’t need more than the average wage!

Solidarity with Palestine! Open door immigration from the Arab world!

Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn 2019!!




Probably not the right thread for you to post this bollocks on.



I was also going to post a witty reply but this sums up my feelings better than I ever could have articulated myself.



So fucked is the current state of the Labour Party that I can’t tell if this is satire or serious.



Absolutely disgusted you believe young people in there 20’s dont need more than living wage.7



Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn 2019!

For the many, not the few!

Open society, open door immigration!!

Jeremy will re-negotiate properly with the EU for a workers’ Brexit!


Liberal (not Libdem) of Counsel

Corbyn’s right actually insofar as membership of the ECHR is a prerequisite of EU membership, even though one can be a member of the ECHR (which predates the EU) without being a member of the EU.

Not a clanger at all.



“membership of the ECHR is a prerequisite of EU membership” – I guess you mean that joining the Council of Europe is a pre-requisite for EU membership. What is the source for this? People say this a lot, but the Council of Europe website just says “No country has ever joined the EU without first belonging to the Council of Europe.” And don’t countries just have to meet the Copenhagen criteria wrt human rights? Membership of Council of Europe and adherence to the EHCR certainly allows states to meet the Copenhagen criteria, but I don’t know that there is any treaty obligation to be a member of the Council of Europe before being a member state of the EU… I think this might be one of those things that is said a lot, but is itself an over-simplification.

In any case the EU clearly has no control/jurisdiction over the Council of Europe or the ECHR – so neither of these can properly be described as an EU institution, whether in whole or “only in part”.


Ignorance is Bliss

Moreover, even if membership of the ECHR was a “prerequisite of EU membership” (and it isn’t), it would not follow that the ECHR was “in part an EU institution”. It isn’t. Corbyn has once again displayed his profound ignorance of what should be, to the Leader of the Opposition and an aspiring PM, very basic matters.

But is anyone surprised?



If you can’t find any nuance in Corbyn you’re part of the problem



Corbyn. Sympathiser.


Corbyn. Sympathiser

Even I can’t even sympathise with this faux pas.






What’s happened to all the usual intelligent comment on here? Actually, time of day, 11am, those with intelligence are at work. Will have to wait for later



Clumsy phraseology “in part” – it is not a part of the EU, but it is European. There is clearly a lot of borrowing between the ECJ and ECtHR and the two are so closely intertwined that in lay mans term you could describe the ECHR as being “in part” an EU institution.



Not if you understand what the courts actually are or do.


Adam Tomkins

Get your piece of paper out students and fold it down the middle…

“Two. Legal. Europe’s.”



Vote monster raving loony party.


Donnacha DeLong

The ECHR is an institution of the EU, not the creation of the EU. What he said was correct. The Catholic Church is an institution in Ireland.

What he said was correct, the ECHR underpins human rights law in the EU and is therefore an institution of the EU, even though it is older and is structurally connected to the Council of Europe.



No, it is clearly not an institution of the EU. It may be closely aligned/related/integrated etc to the EU, but it is not part of the EU.



Helps if you actually read what he said.

It is an institution of the EU in exactly the same way that the Catholic Church is an institution in Ireland – despite not being ‘part’ of Ireland.



He was clearly not saying that though. The phrase he used was “an EU institution”. Firstly, this is a technical term – the EU institutions are listed at article 13 of the TEU. Secondly, even in layman’s terms this can’t have the meaning you want it to have. It would be like describing the Catholic church as an “Irish institution” (as opposed to “an institution within Irish society” or similar) – incorrect, as the church is not Irish but European or global.


EU lawyerman



Ciaran Goggins

What has the Vatican to do with this Mr “de” Long? Yet again you get it wrong. Now run along and paint a hammer and sickle on the NUJ wall. Banned anyone for disagreeing with you lately?



Heavens! I’ve been lecturing for over twenty years and this is the stuff I tell my students not to say or think. Indeed I tend to shriek in gest as I say it. I actuallly assumed politicians had educated themselves as it’s been awhile I’ve heard such crap over the radio. Clearly, I was wrong. I can’t believe anyone who is capable of doing their research will argue or seek to strenuously argue that the EU and ECHR are part of a whole or similar! Please go and read the first chapter of any decent EU textbook about the origins of the EU. The ECHR is NOT part of the EU; it is not like the EU…it is not..
I could go on.



We need socialism!

ENOUGH austerity dictatorship deaths.

General election or #Generalstrike.

Parliament forgets the people hold all the real power.




Unfortunately I won’t be joining you. As a person (and therefore apparently someone with power) I think Corbyn is an incompetent boob.


Ciaran Goggins

He is ineffectual, not quite the same.


Ciaran Goggins

We need a civil war.


Ciaran Goggins

How much of Stupidville lives in your head? A nation must be part of the EU to join the ECHR. The ECJ is EU and Strasbourg is EU affiliated. It failed to deliver on deletion of 7 million innocent folks DNA samples.



Oh? Remind me when ECHR members Norway, Turkey, Iceland, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, San Marino, Andorra, Moldova, Albania, Macedonia, Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Monaco, and Montenegro joined the EU. I must have missed that.


Ciaran Goggins

Yeeesss my case had such legal giants as Leichtenstein, Andorra, Albania (wanna buy a 12 yr old girl?) Bosnia (Serb part, judge was implicated in genocide) and you did not read what I wrote, they are not members but signed up to EU agreements.



Ciaran, I really hope you’re not a law student or professional. If you are, I suggest you ask your university for a refund. Yours is the most ignorant of statements, I fear. Strasbourg is NOT the EU. It is not one of the EU institutions. Golly!



A Eurosceptic with a fundamentally flawed understanding of the EU? What a surprise…



And to think people trust Corbyn with this country.



Wow human rights barrister so clever


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