The Doctrine of Conventionality Control

This book studies the doctrine of conventionality control in the Inter-American Human Rights System. It appeals to the principle of subsidiarity as a theoretical key to solve some of the inherent tensions of a doctrine that aims to increase the effectiveness of the American Convention on Human Rights and the decisions of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in a plurality of constitutional systems and traditions in the region.
Pablo González-Domínguez
Law and Cosmopolitan Values
book | published | 1st edition
March 2018 | xxviii + 274 pp.



ISBN 9781780686271

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ISBN 9781780686660

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The creation of the doctrine of conventionality control is one of the most recent and ambitious efforts undertaken by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to increase the effectiveness of and compliance with the American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR) at the State level. It is an international obligation of all State parties to interpret domestic law in accordance with the ACHR and with the Inter-American Corpus Juris more generally, and to avoid the enforcement of that law in the case that no consistent interpretation is legally possible.

This book is the first that approaches conventionality control from an analytical, critical and normative perspective. The author applies the principle of subsidiarity as a theoretical framework to argue the legality of and clarify the content of conventionality control as an international legal obligation. This innovative approach explains the normative foundations and effects of the doctrine in a manner that increases the effectiveness of the ACHR and the decisions of the Inter-American Court, whilst also respecting the legitimate freedom of States in the way they implement international human rights law at a domestic level.

Coinciding with the 40th anniversary of the ACHR coming into force, The Doctrine of Conventionality Control is an important contribution to the literature on the application of the ACHR in the State parties. It is a book for everybody interested in, involved with or affected by the implementation of the ACHR.

‘This book comes at a perfect timing: the 40th anniversary of the entry into force of the American Convention on Human Rights. It is the most comprehensive analysis of the doctrine of conventionality control written to this day. It not only analyses the state of the art on this important subject, but also explains some of its theoretical and practical challenges, and introduces some fertile ideas for its development in the future. Anyone concerned with the current relationship between the Inter-American Court and state institutions in Latin America should read this book.’
Eduardo Ferrer Mac-Gregor Poisot, President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

‘The doctrine of "control of conventionality" is one of the most important - and controversial - recent innovations in the field of international human rights law. Tracing the history of its development by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and dissecting its rationale, Pablo González-Dominguez offers both an insightful critique and an intriguing reformulation of the doctrine. His invaluable study opens a normative and analytical window, not only on control of conventionality per se, but more broadly on the complex interplay between international and national law.’
Douglass Cassel, Professor of Law and Notre Dame Presidential Fellow, Notre Dame Law School

‘With this book the author enters the debate on how to understand and improve the relationship between the Inter-American System of Human Rights and domestic constitutional systems in Latin America in the 21st century. The book aims to develop an understanding of conventionality control that protects and increases the legitimacy of the Inter-American Court as an regional human rights court, whilst also allows it to be a key institutional actor in the fight against injustices and structural deficits in the states parties to the American Convention.’
Mariela Morales Antoniazzi, Senior Research Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law


Table of contents and preliminary pages (p. 0)

General Introduction (p. 1)

Chapter 1. Jurisprudential Development of the Doctrine of Conventionality Control (p. 13)

Chapter 2. Legal Analysis of the Doctrine of Conventionality Control (p. 63)

Chapter 3. Questioning the Legal Validity of the Doctrine of Conventionality Control (p. 117)

Chapter 4. Reconstructing the Doctrine of Conventionality Control in Light of the Principle of Subsidiarity (p. 177)

General Conclusions (p. 235)

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, Alexia Herwig, George Pavlakos, Patricia Popelier and Wouter Vandenhole.
All members are part of the Centre for Law and Cosmopolitan Values at the University of Antwerp.

Advisory Board: Robert Alexy (Kiel), Samantha Besson (Fribourg, CH), Christian Joerges (Bremen), Panos Koutrakos (Bristol and Antwerp), Thalia. Kruger (Antwerp), Joost Pauwelyn (Geneva), Margot Salomon (LSE), Kok-Chor Tan (Pennsylvania), Herwig Verschueren (Antwerp) and Wim Voermans (Leiden).

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