A Court Divided: discord and disagreement in Rola v. Slovenia

This post was written by Bas van Bockel, Senior Lecturer of EU law, at Utrecht University.

In a judgment delivered on June 4 by the 4th Chamber of the ECtHR, no less than 3 separate opinions – both partly dissenting and partly concurring – were delivered by 5 of the 7 judges sitting on the case. The facts of the case appear unremarkable, making it all the more surprising that the judges ostensibly found it so difficult to reach agreement between them. What is particularly concerning is that the Court appears to disagree fundamentally on one of the most well-established doctrines from its own case law, the Engel doctrine. The result is puzzling, and raises the question of how the national judiciary can be persuaded to follow the case law of the ECtHR if the Court itself appears so divided on its proper interpretation and implications. Continue reading

The Curious Case of Molla Sali v. Greece: Legal Pluralism Through the Lens of the ECtHR

By İlker Tsavousoglou, Doctoral Candidate at Human Rights Centre, Ghent University, Attorney at Law

On 19 December 2018, the European Court of Human Rights delivered its judgement on the case of Molla Sali v. Greece. In its ruling, the Grand Chamber unanimously held that there has been a violation of Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights in conjunction with Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention. The Applicant, Ms Chatitze Molla Sali, a Greek national and member of the Muslim minority of Western Thrace, was the beneficiary of her deceased husband’s estate based on a notarised testament of civil law. Following a domestic legal dispute, the Greek Court of Cassation found that the will drafted by a Greek of Muslim faith is devoid of effect. This was because, pursuant to a series of binding international agreements and the relevant domestic norms, the law applicable to the case was Islamic inheritance law instead of the relevant civil law. Continue reading