Category Archives: Research Output

Legitimacy Report

Click here to download the ECtHR Legitimacy Report that will be presented at the final event of this project taking place at the European Court of Human Rights on May 2nd 2011.

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Event: The Legitimacy of the European Court of Human Rights – The View From The Ground

On 2nd May at the European Court of Human Rights we will present our findings on the perceptions of the Court’s legitimacy among key stakeholders: domestic judges, politicians, and lawyers who litigate at the Court.

We will then open the findings for discussion by our panelists, who are:

  • Judge Giorgio Malinverni, European Court of Human Rights
  • Andrew Drzemczewski, Head of Law and Human Rights Department, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
  • Donncha O’Connell, Human Rights lawyer, academic, and candidate for the Irish Senate
  • Anna Sevortian, Russia Office Director, Human Rights Watch.

A paper providing details of the research findings will be made available on this site following the event.   We will also make an audio recording of the event which will be online, so check back after 2nd May to hear the presentation and discussions!

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Domestic Judges and the European Court of Human Rights: Conflict or Consensus?

On 31 March, Basak presented the findings of research on the perceptions of the authority of the European Court of Human Right amongst apex court judges to an audience of legal and policy practitioners and academics at an event hosted by the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law .

Basak’s talk set out some of the key findings arising from analysis of the interviews conducted with domestic apex court judges, and the argumentative strategies they employ to make sense of their relationship with the European Court of Human Rights.  In particular, Basak explained three original findings of the research:

1) domestic judges approach the European Court of Human Rights as a form of hybrid authority drawing from notions both of legal pedigree and persuasiveness

2) domestic judges have distinct doctrinal attitudes towards the authority of the European Court of Human Rights

3) ‘Qualified internationalism’ is the most shared doctrinal attitude across the five jurisdictions where the research was conducted.

Following the presentation, a panel chaired by Prof. Jeffrey Jowell QC and composed of

  • Judge Giorgio Malinverni (European Court of Human Rights);
  • Lord Hope (UK Supreme Court Justice);
  • Judge Olivier Dutheillet de Lamothe, (Conseil d’Etat); and
  • Judge Peter Paczolay, (President of the HungarianConstitutional Court)

reacted to the findings of the research.  The discussion was lively, good-humoured, and entertaining, bringing out a number of points of agreement and also some tensions between international and domestic legal obligations.

Lord Hope kicked off the discussion by agreeing that the UK Supreme Court is composed of qualified internationalists, illustrating this by going through a series of important cases.  However, he doubted how wide spread qualified internationalism is within other High Courts, especially those in Scotland.

Judge Malinverni indicated that he was suprised by how many domestic judges did not emphasise  the importance of international obligations as grounding the authority of the European Court of Human Rights.  He further defended the priority of the  Article 46 of the Convention in setting any argumentative framework making sense of the relationship between apex domestic courts and the Strasbourg Court.

Judge  Peter Paczolay spoke about the initial disappointment in Hungary about the Strasbourg Court in the aftermath of the ‘sliding scale of protections doctrine’  in transitional democracies spelled out by the Strasbourg Court after the Rekvenyi case (1999).

Judge Olivier Dutheillet de Lamothe emphasized the different approaches of the French and UK domestic courts and governments to the implementation of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. He concluded that the UK Apex Courts were better than French ones in following the case law of Strasbourg, despite the fact that France has accepted more formal obligations to follow Strasbourg under the Constitution than the UK did under the Human Rights Act.

For a summary of the findings of the research, click here.

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Disinformation or an Undemocratic Monster: Why the European Court of Human Rights is under attack in the United Kingdom?

On Monday, think tank Policy Exchange published a paper ‘Bringing Rights Back Home’ (available here), which advocates the UK withdrawing from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights.   Dr Başak Çalı has written a commentary on the paper which seeks to counter some of the myths put forward by the Policy Exchange.

Disinformation or an Undemocratic Monster: Why the European Court of Human Rights is under attack in the United Kingdom?

The Policy Exchange declared with fanfare this week that there is nothing that stops the United Kingdom pulling out of the European Convention on Human Rights.  In fact, it was very simple: the UK only has to give six months notice.

This piece of information may be a huge surprise to think tank researchers. But perhaps the Policy Exchange should have given even bigger news to its audience – that the United Kingdom is free to pull out from any of its international law treaty obligations whenever it wants.  Given that the Policy Exchange singles out the most successful legal instrument in international law to date for criticism, a legal instrument that has made concrete advancements for human rights protection in the UK and elsewhere over the past sixty years, where is the real problem?

…read Basak’s full commentary here.

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Listening to Foreign Judges From Far Away Places

On 7 December 2010 Basak gave a lecture on the project and some preliminary findings, as part of University College London’s ‘Lunch Hour Lecture’ series.

The lecture is now available to view online by clicking this link.

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115 interviews later…

After 12 months of indepth interviews in six countries our fieldwork is nearly over. With just a few more to go, we have started the first cut in analysing the comparative data and the broader theoretical implications. We will be giving a poster and paper at the APSA conference in Toronto in September. This will be entitled: “Why do democracies comply with human rights judgements? – A comparative analysis of the UK, Germany and Ireland”. We will post this paper for downloading nearer the time. The next paper will be on domestic judges and supranational human rights courts – indeed, a topical issue in the UK, Germany and, as we have also found out, in Ireland judging by current policy debates and reactions to the speech of UK Law Lord Lord Hoffmann advocating scepticism about human rights courts.

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On Interpretivism and International Law – EJIL

Basak’s article On Interpretivism and International Law is due to be published by the European Journal of International Law in its forthcoming issue Vol. 20 (2009) No. 3

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