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Tim Otty QC has been appointed the United Kingdom’s representative on the European Commission for Democracy through Law.

The Commission - better known as the Venice Commission as it holds plenary sessions four times a year in Venice - is the Council of Europe's advisory body on constitutional matters.

The role of the Venice Commission is to provide legal advice to its member states and, in particular, to help states wishing to bring their legal and institutional structures into line with European standards and international experience in the fields of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

It also helps to ensure the dissemination and consolidation of a common constitutional heritage, playing a unique role in conflict management, and provides “emergency constitutional aid” to states in transition.

The Commission has 61 member states: the 47 Council of Europe member states, plus 14 other countries (Algeria, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Israel, Kazakhstan, the Republic of Korea, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Mexico, Peru, Tunisia and the USA). The European Commission and OSCE/ODIHR participate in the plenary sessions of the Commission. South Africa and Palestine have special status before the Commission and 5 other states (Argentina, the Holy See, Canada, Japan and Uruguay) have Observer status.

Sir Jeffrey Jowell QC, also of Blackstone Chambers, is a previous UK representative on the Venice Commission.