Wed, 10 Dec 2008

Consultations, are they worth the time?

Every time I write up a submission to yet another consultation I wonder whether it is worth the effort. Here are some of the consultations mentioned in this blog to which I sent in a contribution:

I suggested earlier: 'It's unclear how much effect responses to these many consultations do have, but as these are rare occasions when the public at large are invited to voice concerns you may want to take the time to go through the 60-page document and write to the Home Office. The number of responses generally positive or negative may be as important as the detailed content of the responses.'

The European Court of Human Rights judgement in S. and Marper v. UK should be an encouragement to everyone who made the effort to contribute to the Nuffield Council on Bioethics consultation. The resulting report is cited in the section on 'Relevant law and materials' (sections 38-40) and in the 'Justification for the interference; The Court's assessment' (section 116 and 124).

In Appendix 2: Wider consultation of the report, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics wrote:

A consultation was held between November 2006 and January 2007. A consultation paper prepared by the Working Group contained background information and questions for respondents to answer if they wished. The document was disseminated to individuals and organisations relevant to the field and it was also available online. Approximately 135 responses to the consultation were received; 76 per cent from individuals and 24 per cent from organisations.

The Working Group and the Council are grateful for such a diverse range of responses and found them to be insightful and useful.

Everyone who contributed to this consultation (the list is available in the report) has in a small and indirect way helped inform the Grand Chambers of the ECtHR when it looked into the case of S. and Marper v. UK. That was a consultation worthwhile to contribute substantively to!

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