Friday, 24 February 2017

Book on Family Rights and the ECHR

Carmen Draghici (City University London School) has just published the book 'Legitimacy of Family Rights in Strasbourg Case Law- ‘Living Instrument’ or Extinguished Sovereignty?' with Hart Publishing. It is both available as hardback and e-book. This is the book's abstract:

'Modern family life exhibits a huge variety of new forms. Legal responses to these new forms illustrate the continuing differences between European nations. Nonetheless, the Strasbourg Court has been increasingly active in this area, which provides fertile ground for testing the legitimacy of the Court's interpretation of the European Convention on Human Rights. When national law refuses to recognize a claimed right, litigants regularly reassert that right before the Strasbourg Court. This has forced it to seek answers to complex domestic controversies, such as the legal recognition for same-sex partners and transgender persons, the ethics of adoption and reproductive rights, the legal regime for cohabitants, or the accommodation of immigrants' aspiration to family reunion.

Placing family rights at the core of the judicial legitimacy debate, this book provides a critical analysis of the standards of family rights protection under the Convention. It evaluates the Court's interpretive methodology and discusses the tensions inherent in its supranational quasi-constitutional function. These include the risk of excessive deference to national authorities, at the expense of the effective enforcement of universal rights; the addition of 'new rights'; and inattention to the division of responsibilities between democratic processes within sovereign States and the subsidiary international review.'

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

ESIL - European Court Conference on Migration

Pre-announcement: the European Society for International Law and the European Court of Human Rights will co-organise a one-day conference on ‘Migration and the European Convention on Human Rights’. The conference will take place on Friday 6 October 2017 at at the Court in Strasbourg. The programme will include presentations by judges from the European Court of Human Rights as well as international law scholars. 

More information on the programme and details of how to register will be available in due course on the website of the European Society of International Law.

Monday, 6 February 2017

MOOC on the ECHR Open for Registration

After its very successful first airing, with over 5000 participants at the end of last year, we will again run our Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) starting next week 13 February. Registration is open now! To enroll, please go to the Coursera platform.

The MOOC entitled 'Human Rights for open Societies - An introduction into the ECHR' was developed together with my Utrecht University colleagues professor Janneke Gerards and dr Paulien de Morree. This is the abstract of our six-week course:

'Human rights are under pressure in many places across the globe. Peaceful protests are violently quashed. Voting is tampered with. And minorities are often excluded from decision-making. All of this threatens the ideal of an open society in which each of us can be free and participate equally. A solid protection of human rights is needed for an open society to exist and to flourish. But it is often an uphill battle to work towards that ideal. Equip yourself and learn more about what human rights are and how they work. 

In this course, we will introduce you to one of the world’s most intricate human rights systems: the European Convention on Human Rights. You will see when and how people can turn to the European Court of Human Rights to complain about human rights violations. You will learn how the Court tries to solve many of the difficult human rights dilemmas of today. We will look, amongst other things, at the freedom of expression and demonstration, the right to vote, and the prohibition of discrimination. And we will address the rights of migrants, refugees, and other vulnerable groups. And, of course, we will see whether it is possible to restrict rights and if so under what conditions. You will even encounter watchdogs and ice cream in this course. We invite you to follow us on a journey of discovery into the European Convention!'

Please watch this short introduction video to get an impression:

Friday, 3 February 2017

Conference on Principled Resistance Against European Court Judgments

Professor Marten Breuer of the Law School of the University of Konstanz in Southern Germany is organising a conference entitled "Principled Resistance against ECtHR Judgments – a New Paradigm?". It will take place in the town hall of Konstanz on 1 and 2 June and will feature both country-specific (Russia, UK, Italy, Switzerland and Germany) and general contributions as well as a final roundtable in which I will also participate. The full programme can be found here. This is the organisers' abstract about the conference:

'In recent years, there have been more and more instances where national courts, in a principled manner, declared their unwillingness or inability to give suit to an ECtHR judgment. So far, those cases have initiated discussions about the Court’s ‘legitimacy’ and about the necessity of having a ‘dialogue between judges’. The conference takes a different approach, labelling such cases examples of ‘principled resistance’. The research question is whether those cases reveal a general pattern: Has the Court overstretched its competence by its evolutive interpretation so that cases of ‘principled resistance’ may be explained as reactions necessary to preserve national identity? Or is the current accumulation of such cases just a coincidence and are the underlying rationales too divergent to reveal a general pattern? The conference aims to give a dogmatic answer to those questions and thereby to help preserving the long-term functioning of the Convention.'

Registration can be done here.