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Background of the Court from Its Creation to Its Enlargement

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the history of the European Court and its legal force in domestic systems, ranging from individual remedy to legislative changes. The Court is a regional supervisory institution for safeguarding the rights expressed in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The story of the Court is intertwined with events in modern European history: from the horrors of the Holocaust, to the Cold War, to the European Union, to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Legal doctrine remains an interesting product of the Court's legal culture. The 'margin of appreciation' doctrine seems to 'comfort' the member countries, which otherwise might 'fear' that the Court would take away too much power from them and shift power to the supranational level. The ‘in the light of current society’ doctrine assures people that current norms are taken into account and that the Convention is not a fixed text that grows obsolete.

Keywords: Berlin Wall; Cold War; domestic legal system; European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR); European Court; Holocaust; individual remedy; legal doctrines; legislative changes



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