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CJC Newsletter January 2015
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Invited editorial
by Adelina Adinolfi and Nicole Lazzerini

We are honoured to present to the qualified addressees of this Newsletter CharterClick!, a project co-financed by the “Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Programme 2013” of the European Union which sees the collaboration of the Law Department of the University of Florence with the CJC. 
The main ambition with this Editorial is to encourage all those who follow the initiatives of the CJC to get involved in the CharterClick! Project, by sharing with us their experience, expertise, needs and feedback. There is a huge potential for collaboration and synergies between the academia and legal practitioners, as we will try to show. 

Whilst by now we call it simply “CharterClick!”, the Project’s complete – and less cryptic – title is “Don't knock on the wrong door: CharterClick! A user-friendly tool to detect violations falling within the scope of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.” The chief purpose is, in effect, that to create a toolkit that purposes to assist victims of fundamental rights violations, lawyers, national judges, ombudspersons, equality bodies and other national human rights institutions in determining whether the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights can provide protection in a specific case. 

As we all know, after its legal upgrading to the status of EU primariy law, the EU Charter has rapidly and increasingly become a protagonist in the case law of the CJEU. National judges and legal practitioners are amongst the main responsible of this success. But there is also a negative side of the coin. The reports of the European Commission on the application of the Charter and the case law of the CJEU show that many individuals have tried to invoke before courts the protection of the Charter in cases outside its scope of application. As highlighted by former Commissioner Viviane Reding, whose words inspired the Project’s title, “the first result of this ‘knocking on the wrong door’ exercise is an understandable sense of frustration” (XXIV FIDE Congress, 2012). At the same time, the lack of knowledge about the scope of the Charter inevitably entails the risk that its provisions are not applied in cases in which they could (or should). Moreover, although in cases outside its scope the Charter cannot apply as a legally binding source, national courts may nonetheless draw inspiration from its provisions and the related case law of the CJEU to advance a new interpretation of the domestic instruments of fundamental rights protection. 

Admittedly, determining whether a case falls within the scope of the Charter is not always an easy task. As regards its application at the national level, the Charter is binding on the Member States “exclusively when they are implementing Union law” (Article 51(1) CFR). According to the Court of Justice, this situation occurs when there exists a provision of EU law, other than the provision of the Charter allegedly violated, that applies to the circumstances of the case. The case law of the ECJ that implements or elaborates upon this test is rapidly growing and shows that the Charter is applicable in a broad range of different situations. Whilst some of them are relatively easy to detect, others may prove more challenging, and grey areas still exist. 

The Project will contribute to contrast the “knock-on-the-wrong-door effect” by developing an Admissibility Checklist that, in combination with the cases collected within the CharterClick! Database, will help establish whether a case involving the violation of fundamental rights falls inside or outside the scope of the Charter. Our purpose is not to include in the Database each and any decision where the Charter was mentioned. The partners will rather collect and select those decisions that can usefully assist victims and legal practitioners in understanding if the Charter applies or not to a specific case. Besides, the partners will elaborate a document with some Practical Guidelines on the application of the Charter, and a Document on the Best Practices of the National Human Rights Bodies

Upon the Project’s completion, these tools will be made available freely on-line, at the registered domain http://www.charterclick.eu/. The toolkit will also be tested in two series of workshops that will be organized in 5 different Member States (France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and the UK), the first round between April and July 2016, and the second one between December 2016 and January 2017. A high-level dissemination conference will be organised in Florence in October 2016.

As anticipated at the beginning of this Editorial, we would like to encourage legal practitioners, researchers and anyone interested in the protection of fundamental rights to contribute to the successful implementation of the CharterClick! Project. In this phase, your collaboration would be extremely helpful for the collection of the documents for the Database, in particular national follow up of preliminary rulings of the ECJ concerning the application of the EU Charter, and national decisions (other than follow up) where the EU Charter played a role. If you are aware of any such decision, we warmly invite you to send it to the Project’s mail address: charterclick@dsg.unifi.it.
 
We also invite you to have a look at the CharterClick! website. At this stage there is only a “static” page. However, in a few weeks you will find different sections with detailed information on the Project’s Background, the Working Phases, the Outputs, and the Consortium. The Events section will be used to advertise the training and dissemination workshops that will be organised. Later on, the website will host the draft toolkit and, subsequently, its final version.

We hope that we succeeded in our attempt to raise your curiosity on this challenging Project, which is expected to provide useful assistance to legal practitioners and stimulating inputs for further academic research in the field of fundamental rights protection.

Looking forward to meet you in the context of CharterClick!-related initiatives, we wish you a pleasant day!       

Adelina Adinolfi (Scientific Responsible) and Nicole Lazzerini (Project Manager) 
What has been done between February and April
  • Start of the Charterclick! project 
    • Kick-off meeting of the project : The meeting allowed to gather all the representatives of the other partners to the project. It was the first opportunity to discuss the administrative tasks as well as to define the timeline of the research activities. In particular,the scientific coordinator, Prof. Adelina Adinolfi, and the project manager, Dr. Nicole Lazzerrini, presented the guidelines for the caselaw gathering as regards on the scope of application of the Charter within the national jurisprudence and the manner to fill the detailed information within the templates provided by the University of Florence team. 
 
  • Il parere della Corte di Giustizia sull'accessione dell'Unione Europea alla Convenzione dei Diritti dell'Uomo - Conseguenze del dialogo tra le corti (13 March in Milan) - Co-organised with the Scuola Superiore della Magistratura.
    • The conference opens a series of meetings organised by the Italian School of the Judiciary in various decentralised training structures on the topic of judicial dialogue between the European judges as regards fundamental rights. The topic is even more pressing, especially in light of the negative opinion (C- 2/13) of the Court of Justice on the proposed accession of the European Union to the European Convention of Human Rights.
 
Participation to events: 
  • Mapping Mutual Trust - Understanding and Informing the Role of Mutual Trust in EU Law (13 March at EUI) - organised by the Max Weber Fellowship Programme
    • presentation by Ms. Madalina Moraru on "Overcoming the limits of Mutual Trust - the perspective of national courts". 
What is to come: 
  • Remedies Project
    • Start of the first phase of the project (testing): the first version of the questionnaire on administrative enforcement will be tested in 10 countries with the collaboration of the Association of European Administrative Judges. The results of this first round will be presented by prof. Cafaggi and the legal expert team of the CJC at the Meeting of the Working Group on Independence and Efficiency in Utrecht, on April 23-24. 
       
  • Centre for Judicial Cooperation – European University Institute
  • Villa Schifanoia – Via Boccaccio 121, IT-50133 Florence, Italy
  • For further information contact: Madalina Moraru and Federica Casarosa: Telephone: (+39) 055 4685494 (Int. 2494) - Fax: (+39) 055 4685200 (Int. 2200)
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