Robert R. Spano

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Robert R. Spano
Judge Robert Spano.jpg
Born Robert Ragnar Spano
(1972-08-27) August 27, 1972 (age 42)[1]
Reykjavík, Iceland, IS
Residence Strasbourg, France
Nationality Icelandic/Italian
Occupation Judge of the European Court of Human Rights
Spouse(s) Arna Gná Gunnarsdóttir
Children Four children

Robert R. Spano (born 27 August 1972) is an Icelandic/Italian jurist and Judge of the European Court of Human Rights. Before beginning his service at the Court he served provisionally as Parliamentary Ombudsman of Iceland and professor and Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Iceland, as well as having chaired a number of expert committees during his professional career.

On 25 June 2013, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe elected Spano a Judge of the European Court of Human Rights with respect to Iceland. He received an absolute majority of votes cast by parliamentarians.[2] His nine year term of office began on November 1, 2013. He sits in Section II of the Court.

Early life and Education[edit]

Spano was born in Reykjavík on 27 August 1972. He graduated with a Candidatus Juris degree from the University of Iceland in 1997 and a Magister Juris degree in European and Comparative Law from the University of Oxford (University College) on August 5, 2000. At Oxford, Spano was awarded the Clifford Chance Prize (proxime accessit) and the Civil Procedure Prize.

Career[edit]

In September 1997, Spano was appointed Deputy District Court Judge in the District Court of Reykjanes. In August 1998 he was employed as a legal adviser in the Office of the Parliamentary Ombudsman of Iceland and was appointed Deputy to the Ombudsman in 2001, serving in that role until 2004. In 2002, Mr. Spano was appointed an assistant professor of law at the University of Iceland on a part-time basis, receiving tenure as an associate professor in 2004. In 2003, the Minister of Justice appointed Spano as Chairman of the Standing Committee of Experts in Criminal Law. In 2005, Professor Spano became Editor of the Law Review of the Lawyer's Association of Iceland. In 2006, Spano was awarded the Rector's Prize for Excellence in Teaching. In November 2006, Spano was appointed a full professor of law. His teaching and research has mainly been in the fields of public law, human rights issues in criminal procedure and criminal law, and theoretical problems of statutory interpretation. In September 2007 he was elected Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Iceland and was subsequently elected Dean of the Faculty, serving in that role from 2010 to 2013.

In 2007, the Prime Minister of Iceland asked Spano to chair a special commission of experts tasked with investigating human rights abuses in child care institutions from 1947-1992. The commission´s work took five years and produced several reports. In 2010, Spano was elected by the General Assembly of the National Church of Iceland to chair a commission of experts entrusted with investigating the reactions and procedures by the Church when allegations of sexual violence allegedly perpetrated by the Bishop of Iceland surfaced in 1996. The commission published its report in the summer of 2011.

On January 1st, 2009, the Praesidium of Parliament appointed Spano as Parliamentary Ombudsman of Iceland in a provisional capacity as the elected Ombudsman, Mr. Tryggvi Gunnarsson, was asked to serve in a special investigatory commission into the banking crises in Iceland.[3] The role of the Ombudsman is to safeguard the rights of individuals in their relationships with the central and local governments on the basis of the principles of legality and the rule of law. Historically, the Ombudsman has through his case-law played a pivotal role in developing human rights guarantees in Iceland as provided for by the Constitution of the Republic of Iceland and the European Convention on Human Rights.

Spano served as Parliamentary Ombudsman until 1 July 2010, but continued to serve as Ombudsman on an ad hoc basis in 2011 and 2012. On July 1st, 2012, Spano was appointed an ad hoc Judge of the EFTA Court in Luxembourg by the ESA/Court Committee. In April 2012, Spano was appointed the Icelandic Delegate to the European Committee on Crime Problems (CDCP) of the Council of Europe (COE). Also, he served as an Independent Expert to the Lanzarote Committee of the COE, set up on the basis of the European Convention on Protection for Children Against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse. On 1 March 2013, Spano was again appointed Parliamentary Ombudsman on a full-time basis, serving until 1 October 2013.[4]

Having been elected a Judge of the European Court of Human Rights, Judge Spano took up office in Strasbourg on November 1, 2013, succeeding Professor Davíð Þór Björgvinsson, the former Judge on the Court with respect to Iceland.

Writings[edit]

Judge Spano has written extensively in the fields of human rights law, public law, the interpretation of statutes and criminal procedural law. His scholarship has dealt mainly with the impact of the European Convention of Human Rights on domestic law, especially in relation to articles 3 and 7 of the Convention and article 4 of Protocol No. 7. In his writings on the interpretation of statutes, Spano has argued for a normative theory of textualism that views the interpretive enterprise holistically in terms of assessing the internal and external context of the statutory text. Furthermore, he has analysed the conceptual elements of the teleological (purposive) form of statutory interpretation. His ten most important publications are:

Books

1. Stjórnarskráin, Mannréttindasáttmáli Evrópu og meginreglur refsiréttar. Ákvæði 1. mgr. 68. gr. og 1. mgr. 69. gr. stjórnarskrárinnar og 3. og 7. gr. Mannréttindasáttmála Evrópu [The Constitution, the European Convention on Human Rights and the General Principles of Criminal Law. Articles 68 (1) and 69 (1) of the Constitution and Articles 3 and 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights], Codex Publishing, Reykjavík 2012, 354 pages.

2. Ne bis in idem. Bann við endurtekinni málsmeðferð vegna refsiverðrar háttsemi samkvæmt 4. gr. 7. viðauka við Mannréttindasáttmála Evrópu og áhrif þess á íslenskan rétt [Ne bis in idem. The Prohibition Against Repeated Criminal Proceedings under Article 4 of Protocol 7 to the European Convention on Human Rights and its Effect in Icelandic Law], Codex Publishing, Reykjavík 2011, 250 pages.

3. Mannréttindasamningar Sameinuðu Þjóðanna. Meginreglur, framkvæmd og áhrif á íslenskan rétt [United Nations Human Rights Conventions. Principles, Practices and Effect in Icelandic Law], Codex Publishing, Reykjavík 2009, 421 pages (Ed. with Björg Thorarensen and Hjördís Björk Hákonardóttir).

4. Túlkun lagaákvæða [The Interpretation of Statutes], Codex Publishing, Reykjavík, 2007, 494 pages.

Book chapters and articles

5. “The Concept of Procedural Homogeneity”. In Judicial Protection in the European Economic Area (ed. EFTA COURT), German Law Publishers, Stuttgart, 2012, pages 151-160.

6. “Samningur Sameinuðu þjóðanna gegn pyndingum og annarri grimmilegri, ómannlegri eða vanvirðandi meðferð eða refsingu”. Í ritinu Mannréttindasamningar Sameinuðu þjóðanna. Meginreglur, framkvæmd og áhrif á íslenskan rétt [“The United Nations Convention on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment”. In United Nations Human Rights Conventions. Principles, Practice and Effect in Icelandic Law.”], Codex Publishing, Reykjavík, 2009, pp. 251-287.

7. “Markmiðsskýring” [“Teleological Interpretation”], Úlfjótur, Anniversary Edition 60 years, (3) Vol. 60, 2007, Orator, Reykjavík 2007, pp. 621-649.

8. “Sérstök fyrirmæli um réttarstöðu útlendinga”. Í Mannréttindasáttmáli Evrópu Meginreglur, framkvæmd og áhrif á íslenskan rétt [“Special Rules on the Legal Status of Foreigners”. In, The European Convention on Human Rights. Principles, Practice and Effect in Icelandic Law”], Human Rights Institute of the University of Iceland and The Faculty of Law, University of Reykjavík, pp. 527-541.

9. “Efnisskilyrði meginreglunnar um ne bis in idem samkvæmt 1. mgr. 4. gr. 7. viðauka við mannréttindasáttmála Evrópu” [“The Substantive Conditions of the Principle of Ne bis in idem under Article 4 (1) of Protocol 7 to the European Convention on Human Rights”], Tímarit lögfræðinga Review of the Lawyer‘s Association of Iceland, (4) Vol 55, 2005, pp. 535-574.

10. “Gildissvið meginreglunnar um ne bis in idem í 1. mgr. 4. gr. 7. viðauka við mannréttindasáttmála Evrópu”, Rannsóknir í félagsvísindum VI, Lagadeild, Félagsvísindastofnun Háskóla Íslands [“The Scope of the Principle of Ne bis in idem under Article 4 (1) of Protocol 7 to the European Convention on Human Rights”. In Research in the Social Sciences IV, the Faculty of Law, The Social Sciences Institute, University of Iceland], Reykjavík, 2005, pp. 301-326.

Personal life[edit]

Spano is married to Icelandic artist and teacher Arna Gná Gunnarsdóttir. They have four children.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]