Tag Archives: human rights

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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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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Forum for the Future of Democracy, October 2010

Anne participated in the 6th session of the Council of Europe’s Forum for the Future of Democracy in Yerevan, Armenia, on October 19-21.  Every two years, the Forum brings together a wide variety of participants from across the 47 member states of the Council of Europe to analyze the application of principles of democratic governance to contemporary political and societal changes.

Yerevan, Cascade and city centre

Contributing to this year’s overarching theme “Perspectives 2020” that focused both on the principles of democracy in Europe and on its challenges, Anne presented an issue paper entitled The impact of European human rights law and case-law on shaping democracy at the Forum’s working session on Law and Democracy.  The paper outlined the role of human rights law as a guardian of pre-democratic rights, as a tool for protecting non-citizens and marginalized groups, and as an instrument providing guiding principles for domestic decision makers.

Conference Session

Yuri Dzhibladze (President of the Center for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights, Russian Federation) acted as a discussant and initiated a lively and controversial discussion about challenges to the implementation of judgments by the European Court of Human Rights and related questions regarding the legitimacy of the Council of Europe.   Jan Borgen (Deputy Secretary General of the International Commission of Jurists) and Krzysztof Drzewicki (advisor to the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Chair of International Law at the University of Gdansk) also participated in the panel that was moderated by Lina Papadopoulou (Assistant Professor for Constitutional Law at the University of Thessaloniki). The draft conclusions of the overall Forum are available online.

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Centre for Advanced Studies, Oslo

For the whole of October, Basak is a resident fellow at the Centre for Advanced Studies in Oslo. She’s there as part of a team of researchers looking into the question: Should States Ratify Human Rights Conventions?

This is an international project funded by the Norwegian Research Council that brings together legal scholars, social scientists, and normative theorists, it addresses three central puzzles in the field of human rights conventions: the motivations of states when they enter into the conventions, the effects of these conventions on states,and, in light of these findings, whether such conventions are normatively legitimate. For more details, click here.

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