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About Us

Strasbourg Observers is the result of a joint effort by six Ph.D. researchers at the Human Rights Centre of the Faculty of Law of Ghent University, Belgium, who work on the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights under the supervision of Prof. Eva Brems. Our blog aims to bring new judgments of the European Court of Human Rights under the attention of interested scholars, practitioners and students. In doing so, we offer critical analyses of the legal reasoning of the ECtHR by way of short commentaries. Through our blog we also aim to assess recent legal, political and social developments in Europe through the lens of the Court’s case law.

More about the Strasbourg Observers

Laurens Lavrysen is a Ph.D. Candidate who works on an FWO (Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek; Research Foundation – Flandres) project on positive obligations in the case law of the European Court of Human Rights.

Alexandra Timmer, Lourdes Peroni, Maris Burbergs, Saïla Ouald Chaib and Stijn Smet are Ph.D. Candidates who work on the European Research Council-funded project “Strengthening the European Court of Human Rights: More Accountability through Better Legal Reasoning”. The project’s objective is to study the European Court of Human Rights’ case-law with the aim of proposing innovative solutions to strengthen the consistency and persuasiveness of the Court’s legal reasoning so as to improve its accountability and transparency.

In the context of the ERC-project, whose focus is described in more detail below, we work on the following (provisional) topics:

  • Maris Burbergs: “Developing the scope of the rights of the European Convention of Human Rights: a danger of right inflation”
  • Lourdes Peroni: “Cultural diversity and the European Court of Human Rights: in search of a coherent standard”
  • Saïla Ouald Chaib: “Integrating minority rights in human rights adjudication”
  • Stijn Smet: “Conflicts between human rights in the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights”
  • Alexandra Timmer: “Including non-dominant groups in the legal reasoning of the European Court of Human Rights”

If you would like to get in touch with any of the Strasbourg Observers, please click on “Contact Us” to find our e-mail addresses.

More about the European Research Council project

The ERC-project proposal has identified several challenges facing the European Court of Human Rights from the viewpoint of its legal reasoning: competing discourses in the fight against terrorism; possible dangers of rights inflation; conflicting rights: rights as contested claims; and universality under fire. These challenges call for leadership by the European Court of Human Rights. If human dignity and the rule of law are to be upheld, the European human rights protection mechanism has to be strengthened so as to improve its credibility and status.

The project aims to develop a number of strategies to strengthen the credibility of the Court’s case-law and to enforce public trust in the Court by improving its legal reasoning. In this context, the project largely focuses on three sub-themes: mainstreaming diversity, settling the minimum-maximum debate and doing justice in cases of conflicting rights.

The ultimate aim of the project is to identify new technical solutions for important human rights problems on the basis of out-of-the-box thinking and the development and application of creative methodologies. The substantive innovations within the field of European human rights law the project proposes to make are:

a) the development of new legal tools, which will consistently integrate the accommodation of the particularities of non-dominant groups into the reasoning of the European Court of Human Rights;

b) the development of a new theoretical framework combining minimum and maximum approaches to human rights protection, followed by its translation into clear legal criteria for use by the European Court of Human Rights;

c) the development of a script that will enable the adoption of a consistent approach by the European Court of Human Rights to conflicts between human rights.

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