Of the following: Parliament, Ombudsmen, UK Courts, European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights, which body is the most effective at redressing grievances, and why?
The different bodies of the UK and Europe have their individual ways of redressing grievances. In the UK, the link between Parliament and Ombudsmen is quite significant; in that the way Parliament redresses grievances is through the Parliamentary Ombudsman (officially known as the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration). The European Courts are connected to the European Ombudsman, whose job shall be outlined later. Each institution is equally effective at redressing grievances, although it seems that the European Ombudsman has greater effect. The reasons for this shall be summarized below.
The European Court of Justice is an institution of the European Union and is situated in Luxembourg. It is not to be confused with the European Court of Human Rights. Except when in its judicial role, the court helps to resolve disputes between member states, the European Union and member states, individuals and the European Union or between the institutions of the European Union. Since 1952, more than 8,600 cases have been presented to the court. To deal with the increasing number of cases more rapidly and therefore more effectively, the court appealed to the European Parliament to allow them to create another judicial body. This was done, and the number of cases dealt with is shared equally between the two groups.
Things that the European Court of Justice can take action against are failure to act (against parliament, the council or commission) or damages. If a complaint is made, the person can either go to this court, or to the European Ombudsman.
The European Court of Human Rights is situated in Strasbourg and is an institution of the European Convention for human rights. The creation of this body allows people with a grievance against the state to challenge their treatment at an international level. This means that British citizens can challenge the laws of the state at a European level, although it is expensive and a lengthy process. The Court was reorganized in 1998 and took over the role of the European Commission; this being to receive a complaint from any individual group of individuals or non-governmental body which claimed to be a victim of an aspect of the [European] Convention [for human rights].