European Commission of Human Rights

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The European Commission of Human Rights was a body set up in 1954 by the Council of Europe, to deal with cases under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Individuals wishing to bring a case under the Convention had to apply to the Commission, which would decide whether or not the case should be submitted to the European Court of Human Rights. In 1998 the Commission was abolished by Protocol 11 to the Convention, since when individuals have been able to take their cases direct to the Court.

LGBT history

In the early days of the Commission, it rejected all applications from LGBT people. A breakthrough came in 1977 with X v the United Kingdom which the Commission declared admissible, although subsequently rejecting it.

In 1997 the Commission decided in Sutherland v United Kingdom that the existence of a different age of consent for homosexuals and heterosexuals was discriminatory, leading ultimately to the equalisation of the ages in 2000.