Criticism of the European Court of Human Rights

The goal of the volume is to explore how widespread criticism of the European Court of Human Rights is. It also assesses to what extent such criticism is being translated in strategies at the political level or at the judicial level and brings about concrete changes in the dynamics between national and European fundamental rights protection.
Patricia Popelier, Sarah Lambrecht, Koen Lemmens
Law and Cosmopolitan Values
book | published | 1st edition
June 2016 | xxi + 571 pp.


ISBN 9781780684017

When you check this box, you will be subscribed to the series. If you subscribe to the series, each new volume will automatically be sent to you. You can only cancel your subscription after having received two consecutive volumes.


For some time now, the European Court of Human Rights is under substantial pressure. From a case overload crisis it stumbled into a legitimacy crisis with regard to certain countries. This should be taken seriously, since scholars warn that institutions with eroding legitimacy risk demise or reform. The goal of this volume is to explore how widespread this critical attitude of the European Court of Human Rights really is. It also assesses to what extent such criticism is being translated in strategies at the political level or at the judicial level and brings about concrete changes in the dynamics between national and European fundamental rights protection. The book is topical and innovative, as these questions have so far remained largely unexplored, especially cross-nationally.

Far from focusing exclusively on those voices that are currently raised so loud, conclusions are based on comparative in-depth reports, covering fifteen Contracting Parties and the EU.

About the book
‘[...] a valuable resource of information for those seeking insight in the latest developments in the European human rights protection system, its significance for the broader political environment of the member states of the Council of Europe and its possible future development in times of intensifying centrifugal forces.
Gregor Fischer in European Yearbook on Human Rights 2017 483

‘[...] valuable reading for those who want to get an overview of the position of the ECtHR in the examined States. It shows that there are various forms of criticism and that criticism differs depending on the country and on the institutions involved. The book is recommended to anyone interested in gaining an overview of these issues.’
Kristel van Kruisbergen in CMLR 2018 279

With contributions of Olgun Akbulut, Tilmann Altwicker, Katarzyna Blay-Grabarczyk, Anna Gamper, Janneke Gerards, Krystyna Kowalik-Bańczyk, Sarah Lambrecht, Koen Lemmens, Lubomir Majerčík, Giuseppe Martinico, Roger Masterman, Aaron Matta, Christophe Maubernard, Armen Mazmanyan, Katharina Pabel, Eszter Polgári, Patricia Popelier, Clara Rauchegger, Michael Reiertsen and Henrik Wenander.


Table of Contents (p. 0)

Part I. Introductory

Chapter 1. Introduction: Purpose and Structure, Categorisation of States and Hypotheses (p. 1)

Chapter 2. Criticising the European Court of Human Rights or Misunderstanding the Dynamics of Human Rights Protection (p. 23)

Chapter 3. European Union: The EU's Attitude to the ECHR (p. 41)

Part II. Sparse Criticism

Chapter 4. Austria: Endorsing the Convention System, Endorsing the Constitution (p. 75)

Chapter 5. Belgium: Faithful, Obedient, and Just a Little Irritated (p. 103)

Chapter 6. Czech Republic: Strasbourg Case Law Undisputed (p. 131)

Chapter 7. Germany: The Long Way of Integrating the Strasbourg Perspective into the Protection of Fundamental Rights (p. 155)

Chapter 8. Italy: Between Constitutional Openness and Resistance (p. 177)

Chapter 9. Poland: The Taming of the Shrew (p. 199)

Chapter 10. Sweden: European Court of Human Rights Endorsement with Some Reservations (p. 239)

Part III. Moderate Criticism

Chapter 11. 'Je t'aime, moi non plus' (p. 267)

Chapter 12. Hungary: 'Gains and Losses'. Changing the Relationship with the European Court of Human Rights (p. 295)

Chapter 13. The Netherlands: Political Dynamics, Institutional Robustness (p. 327)

Chapter 14. Norway: New Constitutionalism, New Counter-Dynamics? (p. 361)

Chapter 15. Switzerland: The Substitute Constitution in Times of Popular Dissent (p. 385)

Chapter 16. Turkey: The European Convention on Human Rights as a Tool for Modernisation (p. 413)

Part IV. Strong Criticism

Chapter 17. The United Kingdom: From Strasbourg Surrogacy Towards a British Bill of Rights? (p. 447)

Part V. Hostile Criticism

Chapter 18. Russia: In Quest for a European Identity (p. 479)

Part VI. Synthesis

Chapter 19: Assessing the Existence of Criticism of the European Court of Human Rights (p. 503)


Annex 1. Questionnaire (p. 555)

Annex 2. Questionnaire EU (p. 563)

About the series:

Law and Cosmopolitan Values

The Law & Cosmopolitan Values series contains monographs and collections of essays that address fundamental topics in law and globalisation, which range over doctrinal as well as normative questions of International and European law, human rights, justice and democracy. A main purpose of the series is to encourage scholarship that explores and transcends the categories and assumptions on which contemporary debates on globalization are conducted, and to stimulate reflection upon questions concerning the interplay between law, policy and principle.

Recognizing that there is non sharp distinction between theoretical and systematic work in the field from an analysis of law in context, the editors welcome studies from a wide variety of methodological traditions.
The contributions to the series which inevitably cross disciplinary lines appeal to students, researchers and professionals in public law, international law, human rights law, political science, legal, and political philosophy.

Editorial Board: Koen De Feyter, Patricia Popelier and Wouter Vandenhole.

With a subscription to the series you enjoy a 15% discount on each volume!

More about this series