Article 6 ECHR, Civil Rights and the Enduring Role of the Common Law

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Abstract

This article examines the role that the common law has played in Human Rights Act 1998 case law on the protection of 'civil rights' within the meaning of Article 6 ECHR. Focusing on Article 6 ECHR's 'disclosure' and 'full jurisdiction' requirements, it highlights an increasingly nuanced relationship between the ECHR and common law in cases under and outside the Human Rights Act 1998. Although the general pattern within the case law has been one of domestic court fidelity to the ECHR - something that is wholly consistent with section 2 of the Human Rights Act 1998 - the article notes areas in which the courts have been reluctant to adapt common law principles, as well as instances of common law protections exceeding those available under Article 6 ECHR. The article suggests that such lines of reasoning reveal a robustness within the common law that brings a multi-dimensional quality to the Human Rights Act 1998. It also suggests that such robustness can be analysed with reference to 'common law constitutionalism' and a corresponding imagery of 'dialogue' between the domestic courts and European Court of Human Rights.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-96
Number of pages22
JournalEuropean Public Law
Volume19
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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