Publication details

A Holistic View of the Czech Constitutional Court Approach to the ECtHR’s Case Law

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Year of publication 2017
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Heidelberg Journal of International Law : Zeitschrift für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Law

Web Repozitář MU
Field Law sciences
Keywords constitutional court; european court of human rights; case law; compliance; judicial decision/making
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Description This article analyses the Czech Constitutional Court's treatment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) case-law. After the introductory part, it explains the normative position of European Convention of Human Rights and ECtHR case law in the Czech constitutional order. The following empirical part of the text contains some basic data concerning the frequency of use of ECtHR decisions in the judgments of the Czech Constitutional Court. It shows that the use of ECtHR case law by the Czech Constitutional Court varies significantly both in time and amongst individual Justices. Besides providing the reader with some descriptive statistics, it identifies the most relevant factors that might be responsible for the variability and formulates corresponding hypotheses. Generally speaking, the research shows that both resources and preferences of individual Justices influence the number and nature of references to the ECtHR case law. While assessing the approaches of individual Justices, the article also aims to answer an important underlying question: Is the quotation of ECtHR case-law a sign of acceptance of international law or does it serve as a fig leave to boost the national decision’s legitimacy? In this regard, the text concludes that, depending on preferences of individual Justices, references to ECtHR case law can be made for a number of reasons and that “simple numbers” are not a reliable sign of ECtHR case law substantive impact.
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