The newest issue of the Human Rights Law Review (vol. 13, issue 3, September 2013) has been published. Its contents include the following ECHR-related articles (one of which I have mentioned before):
*'Conflicts between Absolute Rights: A Reply to Steven Greer'
Can absolute rights conflict? Is it permissible to torture a person to save others from torture? And what can judges learn from trolleys? In this article, presented as a reply to an article by Steven Greer, I investigate the above questions in the context of the case law of the European Court of Human Rights. Drawing on Gäfgen v Germany, I construct a hypothetical case of conflicting absolute rights, which cannot be resolved by the existing strands of legal reasoning in the case law of the Court. Instead, I argue, recourse must be had to moral reasoning. In discussing one of moral philosophy’s deepest conundrums—the Trolley Problem—I rely on the distinction between negative and positive obligations and between direct and indirect agency to unravel the dilemma. Translating the moral argument into legal reasoning, I conclude that in cases of conflicts between absolute rights, negative obligations principally trump positive obligations.
*'Labour Rights in the European Convention on Human Rights: An Intellectual Justification for an Integrated Approach to Interpretation'
Labour rights have been neglected in human rights law. Classified usually as social rights, they have been excluded from key human rights conventions. Recently, the European Court of Human Rights has developed a technique, known as an ‘integrated approach to interpretation’, because it integrates social and labour rights in the European Convention on Human Rights. The first part of this article presents case law and debates on the adoption of this technique, and also discusses the example of Canada, where similar developments are taking place. It finds controversy in literature, and uncertainty in judicial decision-making. The second part, therefore, develops a normative justification for the integrated approach in interpreting labour rights. This is based on freedom, a key value underlying civil and political rights. Negative accounts of freedom are inadequate, though, for reasons that the article explains. Instead, it analyses positive freedom in light of the theory of capabilities, which leads to the collapse of sharp divisions between groups of rights. A positive account of freedom as capability requires the protection of labour rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, and leads to the development of important principles on human rights at work.
*Article 9 at a Crossroads: Interference Before and After Eweida'
Freedom of conscience and religion is probably unique in its potential to challenge almost every area of law. Since society contains a multitude of religious and moral beliefs, many religious people will constantly be faced with practices with which they disagree and will in a myriad of ways be constrained from living an ideally religious life. Not all of this can constitute an interference with the right under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) to manifest belief ‘in teaching, practice and observance’. However, the European Court of Human Rights’ (‘the Court’) approach has historically been unnecessarily restrictive in considering whether an interference under Article 9(1) exists, thus shutting out cases at an early stage of reasoning and before justification is considered under Article 9(2). This approach has been narrowed even further by the British courts.