Strasbourg Observers

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  • Saïla Ouald Chaib

Ghent seminar on empirical face veil research (May 9)

April 26, 2012

The European Court of Human Rights has recently communicated the case of S.A.S. v. France, concerning a French woman challenging the French ban on face coverings. She alleges a violation of several Convention rights amongst which her freedom of religion, her right to private life and her right not to be discriminated against. This case […]

  • Laurens Lavrysen

No Access to Court: on Prison Leave, Social Reintegration and Legal Formalism

April 25, 2012

In the recent judgment of Boulois v. Luxembourg, the Grand Chamber denied a prisoner his right of access to court (Art. 6, § 1 ECHR) in a case concerning the refusal to grant him prison leave. The Grand Chamber’s reasoning is tainted by legal formalism and fails to do justice to the importance of social […]

  • Guest Blogger

The Right To Protest Contained By Strasbourg: An Analysis of Austin v. UK & The Constitutional Pluralist Issues it Throws Up

April 17, 2012

This post is written by David Mead who is a Senior Lecturer at the UEA Law School and author of The New Law of Peaceful Protest: Rights and Regulation in the Human Rights Act Era published by Hart in 2010. More information about David can be found here http://www.uea.ac.uk/law/Staff/All+People/Academic/dmead The last few days have proved to be […]

  • Alexandra Timmer

Testimonial privilege for life-partners? The formalism of van der Heijden v Netherlands

April 11, 2012

When it comes to protecting family life, the Strasbourg Court is torn between realism and formalism. The recent Grand Chamber case of van der Heijden v Netherlands is a good example of this. The Court showed itself to be deeply divided over a question of testimonial privilege – meaning the right not to testify against […]

  • Saïla Ouald Chaib

Francesco Sessa v. Italy: A Dilemma Majority Religion Members Will Probably Not Face

April 05, 2012

This post was co-authored by Saïla Ouald Chaib and Lourdes Peroni This week, in a 4-3 judgment, the Court ruled against a violation of the freedom of religion of Mr. Sessa, a lawyer and member of the Jewish faith, unable to attend a court hearing scheduled on Yom Kippur. The case is Francesco Sessa v. […]

  • Guest Blogger

Criminal conviction of professor for refusal to give access to research files did not affect his Convention rights: Gillberg v. Sweden

April 04, 2012

This post on freedom of expression, academic research, privacy protection and access to official documents is written by Dirk Voorhoof* and Rónán Ó Fathaigh** The Grand Chamber of the European Court has, more firmly than its Chamber judgment of 2010, confirmed that a Swedish professor could not rely on his right of privacy under Article […]

  • Maris Burbergs

Remembering the private and family lives of mentally disabled persons

March 29, 2012

In the case of Stanev v. Bulgaria the Grand Chamber gives hope for future developments in the Court’s approach towards the protection of private and family lives of mentally disabled people (Lycette Nelson from the Mental Disability Advocacy Center has also blogged about this case, read it here). Even though the majority did not find […]

  • Alexandra Timmer

Gender Justice in Strasbourg

March 22, 2012

Today, in the judgment of Konstantin Markin v. Russia, the Grand Chamber has re-defined its jurisprudence on sex discrimination. Regular readers of this blog will know that the “Strasbourg Observers” have taken a close interest in this case (see earlier posts here and here).  The Human Rights Centre of Ghent University – of which we […]

  • Alexandra Timmer

Stereotypes of Roma: Aksu v. Turkey in the Grand Chamber

March 20, 2012

 The Grand Chamber has handed down its much-awaited judgment in Aksu v. Turkey. This case concerns the use of derogatory stereotypical images of Roma in government-sponsored publications. The Grand Chamber holds with 16 votes to 1 that article 8 (right to private life) has not been violated. I have mixed feelings about the Court’s reasoning. […]

  • Saïla Ouald Chaib

Gatis Kovalkovs v. Latvia: The Strasbourg Court keeps the door to reasonable accommodation open

March 15, 2012

In an earlier post, Lourdes and I were wondering whether the Court was opening the door to the concept of reasonable accommodation in freedom of religion cases with the judgment of Jakόbski v. Poland. With the recent case of Gatis Kovalkovs v. Latvia – well-hidden in the archives of inadmissibility decisions – it can be […]

  • Saïla Ouald Chaib

Ranjit Singh v. France: The UN Committee asks the questions the Strasbourg Court didn’t ask in turban case

March 06, 2012

In January this year the organization United Sikhs held a press conference about the decision in the case Ranjit Singh v. France brought by them before the UN Human Rights Committee. This decision about the wearing of a Sikh turban on an identity document is more than interesting from the perspective of Strasbourg jurisprudence since […]

  • Guest Blogger

Hirsi (part II): Another side to the judgment

March 02, 2012

This is the second post written by Marie-Bénédicte Dembour* on the case Hirsi Jamaa and Others v. Italy. As I said yesterday, Hirsi is a fantastic judgment. It is ground-breaking not only for declaring interception-at-sea as currently practiced illegal on a number of grounds but also for potentially lightening the burden of proof which falls […]

  • Guest Blogger

Interception-at-sea: Illegal as currently practiced – Hirsi and Others v. Italy

March 01, 2012

This post is written by Marie-Bénédicte Dembour. She is Professor of Law and Anthropology at the University of Sussex. She is the author of Who Believes in Human Rights? Reflections on the European Convention and currently preparing a monograph provisionally entitled Migrant First, Human When? Testing Human Rights in the European and Inter-American Courts. Europe […]

  • Guest Blogger

Stanev v. Bulgaria: The Grand Chamber’s Cautionary Approach to Expanding Protection of the Rights of Persons with Psycho-social Disabilities

February 29, 2012

This post is written by Lycette Nelson, Litigation Director, Mental Disability Advocacy Center* The Grand Chamber’s recent judgment in Stanev v. Bulgaria has enormous significance for the rights of thousands of persons with psycho-social disabilities and intellectual disabilities throughout Europe. In finding violations of Articles 3, 5§1, 5§4, 5§5, 6§1, and 13, the Grand Chamber […]

  • Guest Blogger

Yes Prime Minister!

February 23, 2012

This post is written by Dirk Voorhoof* and Rónán Ó Fathaigh** In the case of Tuşalp v. Turkey, the European Court was asked to consider whether two defamation actions taken by the Prime Minister of Turkey against a journalist for protection of his personality rights were compatible with Article 10 of the European Convention.

  • Guest Blogger

Grand Chamber Seeks to Clarify Balancing of Article 10 and Article 8

February 21, 2012

Today’s guest post was written by Rónán Ó Fathaigh, one of our colleagues at the Human Rights Centre. More information on Rónán can be found on the website of the Center for Journalism Studies of Ghent University, here. The Grand Chamber of the European Court delivered two judgments recently concerning the appropriate balancing exercise where […]

  • Alexandra Timmer

Anti-Gay Hate Speech: Vejdeland and Others v. Sweden

February 14, 2012

The Court has handed down a fascinating judgment on the freedom of expression. Vejdeland and others v. Sweden is the first time that the Court applies the principles relating to hate speech in the context of sexual orientation. A unanimous Court has ruled that Sweden did not violate the right to freedom of expression: the […]

  • Strasbourg Observers

Othman (Abu Qatada) v. the United Kingdom: Questioning Gäfgen?

February 08, 2012

The European Court of Human Rights recently delivered its judgment in Othman (Abu Qatada) v. the United Kingdom, a case concerning the deportation of a terrorism suspect from the UK to Jordan. The applicant, Mr. Othman, had arrived in the United Kingdom in 1993, having fled Jordan. He requested asylum, alleging that he had been […]

  • Lourdes Peroni

U.S. Supreme Court and ECtHR: Conflicts between Religious Autonomy and Other Fundamental Rights

February 02, 2012

Cases involving conflicts between religious autonomy and other rights such as non-discrimination and respect for private life seem to be gaining more and more prominence in different parts of the world. One recent example is the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission et al. […]

  • Laurens Lavrysen

Less stringent measures and migration detention: overruling Saadi v. UK?

January 25, 2012

The recent cases of Yoh-Ekale Mwanje v. Belgium and Popov v. France illustrate how a ‘less stringent measures test’ is entering the Court’s reasoning under Art. 5 § 1 ECHR in migration detention cases. The Court appears to be slowly moving away from its deferential approach in Saadi v. The United Kingdom. This might result […]

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