Skip to main content
main-content
Top

About this book

This engaging textbook provides a critical analysis of the legitimacy and effectiveness of the European Convention on Human Rights and its practical operation. In a succinct way, the book investigates questions around the legitimacy of how the European Court of Human Rights develops its law, the obligations of states to comply with its judgments, the adequacy of the Convention in securing basic goods, and the effectiveness of the system in protecting rights ‘in the real world’. It assesses some under-explored areas of the Convention that are often overlooked. Presenting a number of debates about the legitimacy and effectiveness of the system in a provocative and critical style, this book encourages debate, discussion, and self-reflection on how, when and why the Convention protects human rights in Europe.

An ideal text for Law students at English and Welsh universities and higher education institutions taking a module in The European Convention on Human Rights (LLB or LLM level), and for GDL/CPE students and those taking the postgraduate LPC training course.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. The Convention, the Court, and the Heart of the Matter

Abstract
Throughout this book, we will consider specific debates about the European Convention on Human Rights (the Convention or ECHR), the rights it protects, and the ways in which states might be said to justifiably or legally infringe, or otherwise limit, those rights. All of these specific debates, however, connect with a larger
Fiona de Londras, Kanstantsin Dzehtsiarou

Chapter 2. Sovereignty and Authority

Abstract
The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR or Convention) does not operate in a vacuum: it is only one source of law with which states must comply at any given time, and which must somehow be harmonised if states are to meet all of their legal obligations. This raises challenging questions that arise in different ways in different circumstances: first, a ‘contest’ can emerge between the Convention as interpreted and applied by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR or Court) and domestic law, including often domestic constitutional law. In these situations concerns and claims as to national sovereignty add a particular dimension to the debates about authority, which we consider in Debate 1. A second set of questions arises when it comes to the relationship between the Convention and other bodies of international law, such as European Union (EU) law and Resolutions of the UN Security Council. States need to comply with multiple legal obligations at the same time. For reasons of practicality, these obligations must be reconcilable. In these circumstances, the ECtHR may be required to determine how all of these obligations can apply in harmony, and in a manner that effectively protects
Fiona de Londras, Kanstantsin Dzehtsiarou

Chapter 3. Admissibility

Abstract
Although rarely covered in much detail in the academic literature, admissibility is extremely important. More than 90 per cent of all applications are declared inadmissible,That 90 per cent of applications are inadmissible is the Court’s own assessment. For instance, the Court’s own report on admissibility mentions this figure.The Admissibility of an Application
Fiona de Londras, Kanstantsin Dzehtsiarou

Chapter 4. Evolution or Revolution?

Interpretation of the Convention by the European Court of Human Rights
Abstract
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR or the Court) has long held that the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR or Convention) is a living instrument to be interpreted in the light of present-day conditions. What this means, in essence, is that the Convention is subject to evolutive interpretation, i.e. its meaning can ‘evolve’ over time. As one might imagine, this is hardy without controversy. Not only does it raise questions about the appropriate role of judges in ‘making’ law (as it is sometimes put) but also about whether what the Convention is now said to mean (having been subject to evolutive interpretation) is what the states actually signed up to.
Fiona de Londras, Kanstantsin Dzehtsiarou

Chapter 5. Accounting for Difference: Proportionality and the Margin of Appreciation

Abstract
We have already seen that the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR or Convention) sprang from, and purports to reflect, the common heritages and values of European states owever, this does not mean, of course, that the 47 states of the Council of Europe are the same; some states will have a particular constitutional commitment to secularism, and some not; some will have endemic problems with political violence, others will not; and so on. The Contracting Parties will also have different views on what the right way of managing contentious issues is; where does the balance lie between the state interest in, for example, secularism
Fiona de Londras, Kanstantsin Dzehtsiarou

Chapter 6. The Convention in Times of Insecurity

Abstract
Insecurity poses challenges for human rights. Not only do situations of insecurity create conditions in which it can be more difficult for people to enjoy and exercise their rights, but so too can insecurity lead to the introduction by states of security measures with significant deleterious effects on rights. Thus, security and rights have a clear connection to one another, and one that is not often positive in its effects on rights protection.Armed conflict (or war) is subject to a particular set of rules, known as international humanitarian law, and the extent to which international human rights law – including the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR or Convention) – continues to operate in situations where these rules are being applied is a matter of some contention, which we consider in Debate 1. Even if (as we will find is the case) the Convention does continue to apply in times of armed conflict, a difficult question arises when that armed conflict takes place outside of the territory of the Contracting Party. Article 1 provides that the states parties to the Convention will secure the rights therein protected ‘to everyone within their jurisdiction’. Thus, the question of whether the Convention has extraterritorial application is a highly controversial one. We address it here as Debate 2.
Fiona de Londras, Kanstantsin Dzehtsiarou

Chapter 7. Socio-Economic Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights

Abstract
So far throughout this book we have focused – as the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR or Convention) does – on rights that might broadly be defined as ‘civil and political’. However, these are not, of course, the only kinds of human rights that exist either in philosophy and ethics, or in law. More than a decade after the Convention was signed into law, international human rights law developed treaties focusing on both civil and political rights (the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) and socio-economic rights (the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights).
Fiona de Londras, Kanstantsin Dzehtsiarou

Chapter 8. Implementing the Convention: The Execution of ECtHR Judgments

Abstract
Throughout this book so far we have undertaken a number of debates about particular approaches to interpretation and application of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR or Convention). However, we have largely left unconsidered whether the Convention really ‘works’ as a framework for the protection of rights; whether it is effective. This question is complex. It relates to a whole host of different sub-issues, including the extent to which national parliaments take account of the Convention, whether it is integrated into policy-making processes and so on. In this chapter, we look critically at the implementation of the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR or Court), engaging in a number of debates that are fundamentally concerned with what the ‘real world’ impact of the decisions of the ECtHR is within the Contracting Parties.
Fiona de Londras, Kanstantsin Dzehtsiarou
Additional information