Apparently, the Pitcairn Islands – famous from the many Mutiny on the Bounty movies – are a part of Europe, or so says the Pitcairn Islands tribunal in New Zealand. The story is up at the Head Heeb (via Crooked Timber). The whole story of the tribunal is long, sordid, and best described in the Head Heeb’s archives, but the salient bit is that the tribunal’s jurisdiction was challenged by the defence on the grounds that the islands have never been annexed by the UK, and are thus not subject to British law. This apparently did not impress the New Zealand tribunal, which will be operating according to UK law.
In fact, it appears that Pitcairn is not only British but also European. The statutory instruments relating to Pitcairn specify that where there is no local law governing a particular issue, British law applies. One area where there is no local legislation is human rights, and Britain has adopted the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms as domestic law. In subsidiary motions, the defense in the Pitcairn case challenged the appointment of magistrates and absence of trial by jury under European human rights instruments and, although the judges found no violation, both the court and the prosecution acknowledged that those instruments apply. When the Pitcairn trial is conducted in New Zealand under British law, it will be measured against a European standard of human rights.
I presume this means that there will be a right to appeal to Strasbourg. Does this mean that the sun never sets on Europe?