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Chapter Summary

The original ratifying countries never anticipated the ECHR’s detailed reach into their laws that we witness today. Envisaged as an ultimate protection against States lapsing into totalitarianism, the ECHR system has instead become a significant determinant of domestic laws. As it is for other areas of law, so this is increasingly true of the jurisprudence as it relates to mental disability. The Woolf Report sees ‘repetitive’ cases as a major part of the ECtHR’s difficulty; it recommends that the ECtHR should be giving priority to and deciding important points of principle rather than attempting to be an ombudsman service for 800 million people. Conferring on guardians the exclusive right to initiate legal proceedings can lock the individual concerned out of all access to domestic courts, and place the guardian in a position of being able to thwart challenge to his or her appointment.

Keywords: ECHR; ECtHR; mental disabilities; Woolf Report



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