Monday, 19 February 2018

Book on Core Socio-Economic Rights and the ECHR

Dr Ingrid Leijten (Leiden University) has published a new book based on her PhD dissertation with Cambridge University Press. It is entitled Core Socio-Economic Rights and the European Court of Human Rights. This is the abstract:

'Core Socio-Economic Rights and the European Court of Human Rights deals with socio-economic rights in the context of the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). The book connects the ECtHR's socio-economic case law to an understanding of the Court's responsibility to recognize the limitations of supranational rights adjudication while protecting the most needy. By exploring the idea of core rights protection in constitutional and international law, a new perspective is developed that offers suggestions for improving the ECtHR's reasoning in socio-economic cases as well as contributing to the debate on indivisible rights adjudication in an age of 'rights inflation' and proportionality review. Core Socio-Economic Rights and the European Court of Human Rights will interest scholars and practitioners dealing with fundamental rights and especially those interested in judicial reasoning, socio-economic and supranational rights protection.'

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Looking Back and Ahead for the Court

The opening of the judicial year (at the end of last month) always marks a moment of stock-taking for the European Court of Human Rights. In his main speech, the President of the Court, judge Guido Raimondi, expressed both optimism and caution. On a positive note, he pointed out that in a year, the number of pending cases dropped further, from 80,000 to 56,000 approximately. however, he also emphasized that the Court was nearing the end of its creativity in efficiency-enhancing measures. Among the still pending cases is what the President referred to as the 'hard core" : cases that merit detailed attention and cannot summarily dealt with. The end of the quick decrease in backlog may thus be in sight. In addition, the decrease hides large chunks of cases concerning systemic issues whose supervision has been transferred to the Committee of Ministers and are thus far from "solved" for the applicants (see the Burmych and Others v Ukraine case), as the President acknowledged. As to the issue of the strengthening of ties with high domestic courts, the Network of Superior Courts with the European Court as its node, has now expanded to 64 superior courts. 

Two other key developments mentioned in the President's speech were the start of infringement proceedings (in Mammadov v. Azerbaijan) as a challenging historical first and the introduction by the Court of of (limited) reasoning for single judge decisions.

At the same occasion, a seminar on “The Authority of the Judiciary” was organised at the Court's premises. Both the Presidents of the Strasbourg as well as the Luxembourg courts addressed the audience. An extensive background document accompanied the event, which provides a useful mix of Court case-law and references to other documents on issues ranging from the separation of powers to communication strategies for courts.

For the coming months, important events are upcoming, the most notable being the contested plans of the current Danish chairmanship of the Council of Europe with the Court. More about that, including NGO reactions, coming up soon!

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Reminder - Call for Papers for Workshop at the Court

A reminder about a unique opportunity for academic researchers to present their work at the European Court itself:

On 21 September 2018, a group of leading academic centres in Europe, including our own Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM), is co-organising a workshop at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The workshop is entitled:

Responding to Legitimacy Challenges: Opportunities and Choices for the European Court of Human Rights - Researchers Meet the Court

In that context, we are now opening a call for papers. The deadline is 15 February 2018. This is a unique opportunity to present and discuss your work at the Court in the presence of judges, members of the Court’s Registry and leading academics!

Content of the Workshop
Challenges confront the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and its procedures, policies and judgments. Criticisms concern the Court’s backlog, its methods of interpretation, its deference to domestic actors – or its lack thereof. Reactions from states include willful partial compliance with judgments or even principled resistance. These challenges have appeared in many different shapes: not just as criticism from State Parties’ governments, but also from domestic courts, academics, civil society organizations and the media.

Against the backdrop of these challenges, we organize a workshop at the European Court of Human Rights to facilitate informal exchanges among academics and members of the Court including the Registry. The aim is to identify and discuss both challenges and possible solutions. The event will address how the ECtHR may respond and does respond by varied means, including:
  • criteria for case selection;
  • the Court’s reasoning;
  • pilot judgments;
  • dialogues with domestic judiciaries;
  • the margin of appreciation doctrine.

Call for Papers
We invite abstracts of maximum 400-500 words together with a cover letter by February 15, 2018, in one single PDF document. The abstract should go beyond the standard conference abstract and include the key steps of the argument to be presented. The cover letter should include a 1 paragraph CV and explain the context of the paper: e.g. whether it is part of a PhD project, whether it is based on undertaken empirical research or part of ongoing research etc. Accepted contributors will be asked to provide a 4-5 page position paper, to be presented at a panel of the workshop. Travel funds will be available upon request.

To submit a paper abstract, go to the submission portal.

This event is co-organized by PluriCourts of the University of Oslo, The Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM) and the Montaigne Centre at Utrecht University, the Human Rights Centre at Ghent University, KoƧ University Centre for Global Public Law and Hertie School of Governance, Berlin in collaboration with the European Court of Human Rights.