Ann Power-Forde has just completed over seven years’ service as an international Judge, having been elected to the European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg, in January 2008.
On the Court, she was confronted with many of the most pressing concerns of our time—the legacy of the invasion of Iraq, the annexation of Crimea and other threats to European democracy, the consequences of global terrorism, the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean, the legacy of European genocide and the individual’s search for meaning and autonomy. Working through French and English, Ann made a significant contribution to the case law of the Court both as Judge Rapporteur in Chamber and Grand Chamber cases and through the writing of separate opinions. She wrote the dissenting opinion at Chamber level in cases, such as, Bayatyan v Armenia, on the right to conscientious objection, and Sanoma Uitgevers B.V. v the Netherlands on the protections of journalists’ sources and saw her position subsequently endorsed by the Grand Chamber. She was noted for her separate contributions in cases, such as, Lautsi v Italy and Vinter v the United Kingdom and for her judgments concerning the effective protection of the rights of refugees and other vulnerable minorities. Many cases in which she delivered strong sole dissenting opinions, such as, for example, S.J. v Belgium (on the right of people who are HIV+ to have access to life saving medication) andM.E. v Sweden (on the right not to be subjected to a real risk of persecution based on one’s sexual orientation) went on to be referred to the Grand Chamber of the Court and, ultimately, were resolved by the respondent states. She was a member of the Strasbourg Court in seminal cases, such as, Al Skeini v the United Kingdom, Gafgen v Germany and Tymoshenko v Ukraine. As a Judge Rapporteur, she worked on a wide range of human rights issues in areas as diverse as criminal justice (the admissibility of evidence, mandatory life sentencing, EAWs, delays in prosecution) family reunification and crimes against humanity. She has lectured extensively on the Convention and has written on Judicial Ethics in the Court’s Handbook for Judges.
As an academic, Ann has over 20 years’ experience of lecturing in Philosophy and in Jurisprudence. She has published and presented papers on a wide range of topics both nationally and internationally. Her life long interest in Philosophy motivated her to create a series of lectures inspired by life’s fundamental experiences and by what she has learnt from her time on the world’s largest international court. The course reflects upon fundamental human experiences—life, love, suffering, the search for meaning and the experience of death—and considers, what light, if any, international human rights law has to shed on these ‘landmark’ experiences. She questions the extent to which certain rulings respect the dignity of each person and offers alternative perspectives in areas where, arguably, international human rights law is found wanting. Ann aims to inspire in young lawyers, courage, confidence, an understanding of the potential ‘power of one’ and an enduring belief in human nature as they embark upon a life in law. She plans to teach her course on a visiting basis at a number of American and European Universities.
Ann facilitates in judicial training seminars working with magistrates, prosecutors and advocates in the developing world. In April 2015, she was in Malawi working in collaboration with members of the U.S. based National Institute of Trial Lawyers (NITA) on a workshop on fair trial requirements. She has given many lectures and seminars throughout Europe, including, in Turkey, France, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Germany, Luxembourg and Italy and in Africa and the United States.
She is a member of the Bar Council of Ireland’s Human Rights Committee.
She is currently based in Dublin and London.