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Continuity and Change in the Case-law of the European Court of Human Rights

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Chapter Summary

The European Convention on Human Rights was adopted in 1950. Its provisions, similar to many constitutional provisions on fundamental rights, are drafted in general terms. This chapter outlines how the Court, through its interpretative practice, tries to strike a balance between these contradictory interests which sometimes speak in favour of judicial activism, and sometimes in favour of judicial self-restraint. The European Convention on Human Rights is an international treaty to which the general principles of interpretation of the treaties as codified in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties apply. Interpretation of the European Convention of Human Rights is a continuing process where the text is taken as the point of departure in accordance with the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, but where the end result may occasionally be quite far from the words to be found in the text.

Keywords: European convention on human rights; European Court; Vienna convention



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