Publication details

The Architecture of the Strasbourg System of Human Rights: The Crucial Role of the Domestic Level and the Constitutional Courts in Particular

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

Faculty of Law

Web Repozitář MU
Field Law sciences
Keywords European Court of Human Rights; compliance; implementation; constitutional courts
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Description The aim of this paper is to specify the significance of the domestic actors in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (hereinafter also “ECHR” or “Convention”) system’s architecture and to provide a framework of factors affecting the particular actors’ treatment of ECHR rights. It does so in four steps. First, it explains that the Strasbourg system depends on domestic actors in two ways: (1) domestic institutions act as the “diffusers” of the Strasbourg case law by establishing a general domestic rule respecting the demands of the ECtHR; and (2) they further shape this rule by its enforcement in day-to-day practice and by doing so they fulfil the “filtering” role vis-a-vis the ECtHR. But this is an ideal scenario. The second part of this paper shows that in real life implementation of the ECtHR’s case law is a multi-faceted process in which various actors with various interests engage with the Strasbourg jurisprudence. Third, this paper explains the role of the domestic judiciary in implementing the Strasbourg case law and places constitutional courts within the broader judicial context. Finally, it zeroes in on constitutional courts and their complicated relationship with the Strasbourg Court. More specifically, it argues that a constitutional court must be understood as one of the many domestic “meso-level” actors that interact with each other within the State (“macro-level”), but it also consists of several “micro-level” actors within the constitutional court itself. Only if we grasp all of these three levels can we see the full picture of how constitutional courts influence the dynamics of the implementation process.
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