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The Strasbourg Court, democracy and the human rights of individuals and communities: patterns of litigation, state implementation and domestic reform


JURISTRAS studies the relationship between courts and politics, between judicial review of human rights at the supranational level and domestic politics and policies in Europe. Specifically it comparatively explores processes human rights litigation and state implementation of European Court of Human Rights judgments, as well as the effects of the latter in national legislative reform and policy making in a number of EU member states and Associate Candidate States. In response to Court judgments national authorities may seek to evade or contain compliance, but they may also undertake broader reforms to pre-empt recurring infringements of human rights provisions.

JURISTRAS shall examine under what conditions Strasbourg Court judgments that find state authorities to have breached Convention provisions promote broader domestic reform or policy-change and expand justice for individuals and communities. We shall explore the hypothesis that patterns of state compliance and national implementation of Court judgments centrally depend on and are mediated by domestic processes of societal mobilization, public support and elite learning. We specifically focus on the Court's growing jurisprudence pertaining to the civil rights of individuals and communities, and their participation in the public sphere in a democratic setting.

Such case law has primarily grown out of specific categories of cases brought to the European Court of Human Rights, in which individuals claim a violation of their right to privacy and family life, religious freedom and conscience, freedom of expression, assembly and association, and discriminatory treatment. In the course of our research, we shall identify best practices concerning the establishment or improvement of national and EU-level mechanisms for addressing human rights claims and resolving disputes between individual rights and State interests.

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