This week, the European Court of Human Rights has elected judge Robert Spano to become its new President. Spano has been a judge of the European Court of Human Rights in respect of Iceland since 1 November 2013. Previously, he was President of Section (1 May 2017 to 30 April 2019) and Vice-President of the Court (since 5 May 2019). He will succeed current President Linos-Alexandre Sicilianos, whose term of office expires on 17 May 2020.
Judge Spano’s Presidency of the Court would presumably last until the end of his judicial term, so until November 2022. It thus fits in the trend of the last few year’s of relatively short-serving Presidents compared to the earlier decades of the Court’s history. Next to this work at the Court, Judge Spano is well-known for his academic writings and for introducing the notion of the ‘Age of Subsidiarity’ to describe the newest phase of the Court’s evolution. In the current challenging times, this may also be the Age of Distance-Functioning for the Court in different ways than subsidiarity means to convey. Many challenges ahead for the Court with the many derogations due to the pandemic and the working-from-home set-up of the current Court, reflecting many other workplaces currently. But with his great intellectual energy, judge Spano is no doubt well-placed to tackle these together with his colleagues.
Congrats to judge Spano and best wishes for the coming term!