March 8, 2021
Title: The Narrowing of the European Court of Human Rights? Legal Diplomacy, Situational Self-Restraint and Dejudicialisation
Organizers: Global Governance Centre, Graduate Institute Geneva (part of ERC funded research project "The Paths of International Law"
Description: In recent years, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has faced a growing number of challenges, stemming, among other reasons, from problems with the implementation of some of its judgments, an upsurge of sovereigntist sentiments in some member states and the rise of de facto illiberal democracies within its jurisdiction. This article examines the effects that these changing contexts have had on the operation of the ECtHR. In very general terms, the article finds that the ECtHR has become increasingly more restrained, but that this restraint plays out in multiple different ways which reflect the structural differences among the member states with regard to the protection of human rights. The article argues that the ECtHR has developed a new and differentiated legal rationality that combines elements of its original legal diplomacy with new forms of strategic deference and a different vision for its overarching role in the protection of European human rights. Overall, the result is a narrowing of the role of the Court.
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