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A Philosophical Taxonomy of European Human Rights Law

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JournalEuropean Human Rights Law Review
DatePublished - 2011
Volume1
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)71-80
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The European Court of Human Rights is perhaps the most prolific human rights court on the planet. It is important for such an institution to base its doctrine in sound legal philosophy. Whilst the more abstract theory of human rights receives a good deal of attention, comparatively little has been done to apply
analytic legal philosophy to the basic structure of the European Convention and the reasoning methods of the Court. This paper does exactly that. It presents a theory of the concepts that should be used to understand rights-based reasoning under the Convention. This taxonomy is five-pronged and attempts to
show how human rights lawyers should argue from the general to the specific in each and every case. Whilst it is undeniably very demanding of both lawyers and judges, hopefully it will at least prompt some to consider the way in which lawyers argue in the Strasbourg Court and whether it might be improved by a more careful consideration of the basic concepts they deal with on a day to day basis.

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