Duration: September 2006 – August 2009
Project co-ordinator: Dr. Dia Anagnostou, Senior Research Fellow, ELIAMEP
JURISTRAS comparatively explores processes of human rights litigation in the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and the effects of its judgments on national laws, judicial attitudes and policy making. In the past fifteen years, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has witnessed a remarkable expansion of its case-load. The accession of 19 new member states from Central-East and Southeast Europe and the former Soviet Union to the Convention in the 1990s, coupled with the universal and now mandatory acceptance of the individual right to petition since 1998 certainly contributed to the increase in individual litigation. Yet, even if one adjusts for the increased number of contracting states that joined the Convention system, the number of individual applications lodged between 1990 and 2002 still saw a nearly nine-fold increase. If a growing flow of cases allows a court to expand its legal interpretations in a variety of practical contexts and to gain political capital by performing a needed function, then a fundamental transformation of the Strasbourg-based judicial system of human rights protection must have been under way.
The overall purpose of JURISTRAS is to study human rights litigation and domestic processes of implementation of ECtHR judgments, as the same time assessing their impact on the legal norms, institutional structures and policies of states that are parties to the Convention. In response to Court judgments national authorities may seek to evade or contain compliance, but they may also undertake broader reforms to pre-empt recurring infringements of human rights provisions. JURISTRAS examines under what conditions Strasbourg Court judgments that find state authorities to have breached Convention provisions promote broader domestic reform or policy-change and expand justice for individuals and communities. It explores the hypothesis that patterns of state compliance and national implementation of ECtHR judgments centrally depend on and are mediated by domestic processes of societal mobilisation, public support and elite learning.
Nine countries are selected as case studies: eight EU Member States (Austria, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Romania, and the UK) and one EU candidate country (Turkey). The project specifically focuses on the Court’s jurisprudence concerning the right to privacy and family life (Art. 8 ECHR), religious freedom and conscience (Art. 9 ECHR), freedom of expression (Art. 10 ECHR), freedom of assembly and association (Art. 11 ECHR) and the prohibition of discrimination (Article 14). Cases brought to the Court by aliens and minorities, as well as cases that in one way or another relate to individuals forming part of vulnerable social groups are investigated as well.
Dr Dia Anagnostou, Senior Research Fellow, ELIAMEP (email@example.com)
Dr Evangelia Psychogiopoulou, Research Fellow, ELIAMEP (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Nine state of the art reports were produced during the first year of the project, setting out the legal and political background for each country-case under study. Following a brief examination of the status of the ECHR in the domestic legal order and the mechanisms available at the national level to ensure respect of human [...]
Nine case-study reports were produced during the second year of the project following in-depth empirical research for each country reviewed. The reports a) inquire into litigation and legal mobilisation before the ECtHR, analysing the resources and structures of legal support for the individuals resorting to the Court; b) describe the mechanisms and processes of implementation [...]
With a view to identifying significant patterns of variation in Strasbourg litigation, state compliance and domestic legislative and policy reform, five cross-state comparative reports were produced, focusing on specific policy areas directly implicated in the rights claims raised in the Strasbourg judgments under study. The following issues are discussed: a) litigation, implementation and the rights [...]