New publications

Several interesting publications have been published on the EU Fundamental Rights Charter and the European Convention on Human Rights in the last few weeks. Here are some of them :

Steve Peers, Tamara Hervey, Jeff Kenner and Angela Ward have edited “A Commentary on the The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights” (Hart, 2014). Here is the abstract :

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union enshrines the key political, social and economic rights of EU citizens and residents in EU law. In its present form it was approved in 2000 by the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers and the European Commission. However its legal status remained uncertain until the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon in December 2009. The Charter obliges the EU to act and legislate consistently with the Charter, and enables the EU’s courts to strike down EU legislation which contravenes it. The Charter applies to EU Member States when they are implementing EU law but does not extend the competences of the EU beyond the competences given to it in the treaties.  This Commentary on the Charter, the first in English, written by experts from several EU Member States, provides an authoritative but succinct statement of how the Charter impacts upon EU, domestic and international law. Following the conventional article-by-article approach, each commentator offers an expert view of how each article is either already being interpreted in the courts, or is likely to be interpreted. Each commentary is referenced to the case law and is augmented with extensive references to further reading. Six cross-cutting introductory chapters explain the Charter’s institutional anchorage, its relationship to the Fundamental Rights Agency, its interaction with other parts of international human rights law, the enforcement mechanisms, extraterritorial scope, and the all-important ‘Explanations’.

Dia Anagnostou, Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, Domestic Implementation of Human Rights Judgments in Europe: Legal Infrastructure and Government Effectiveness Matter, Eur J Int Law (2014) 25 (1): 205-227.  Here is the abstract :

Over the past couple of years, international law and international relations scholarship has shifted its focus from the question of whether human rights treaties bring any state-level improvements at all to investigations in the domestic context of the factors and dy namics influencing state compliance. In this direction, and focusing on the European Court of Human Rights, this study inquires into the factors that account for variable patterns of state compliance with its judgments. Why do national authorities in some states adopt a more prompt and responsive attitude in implementing these judgments, in contrast to other states that procrastinate or respond reluctantly? On the basis of a large-N study of the Strasbourg Court’s judgments and a comparison across nine states, this article argues that variation in state implementation performance is closely linked to the overall legal infrastructure capacity and government effectiveness of a state. When such capacity and effectiveness are high and diffused, the adverse judgments of the Strasbourg Court are unlikely to be obstructed or ignored, even when the government, political elites, or other actors are reluctant and not in favour of substantive remedies.

Erik Voeten,  Domestic Implementation of European Court of Human Rights Judgments: Legal Infrastructure and Government Effectiveness Matter: A Reply to Dia Anagnostou and Alina Mungiu-Pippid, Eur J Int Law (2014) 25 (1): 229-238. Here is the abstract :

This article responds to the valuable contribution by Dia Anagnostou and Alina Mungiu-Pippidi in which they analyse how nine countries implemented European Court of Human Rights judgments that found violations of Articles 8–11 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Their conclusion that capacity plays an important role in the implementation of ECtHR judgments is certainly correct. In this short response, I highlight various aspects of the authors’ analysis where they make problematic choices with regard to data and statistical methods. First, I describe and use a more comprehensive dataset that allows us to reach more generalizable conclusions. Secondly, I show how survival analysis is a more appropriate framework than logit or linear regression for analysing these data. Thirdly, I argue that the difficulty of the implementation task needs to be accounted for in any analysis of cross-country variation in implementation. My re-analysis shows that low capacity countries attract judgments that are more difficult to implement. The analysis also uncovers a subtle relationship between time, institutional capacity, and checks and balances. High capacity helps willing politicians to implement judgments quickly. Yet, among judgments that have been pending longer, countries with higher capacity are no quicker to implement than lower capacity countries. By contrast, checks and balances initially slow down implementation but help to eventually ensure begrudging implementation.

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