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Chapter Summary

This is the concluding chapter of the book, which analyses a sample of 153 cases concerning privacy/family law, freedom of religion and freedom of expression. The sample of cases was chosen from the first three years of existence of the new permanent Court (1998–2001). The book employs a three-step test. At each step, it searches for a correlation between the variables: (a) historical-political background, (b) vocational background and (c) geographical-legal background and the voting behaviour of the judges. The author's conclusion is this: in the European Court of Human Rights, there is a legal culture that successfully overrides the (legal) differences between its member states. The rich diversities that come to the Court create no obstacles to its work. The high amount of consensus in the decisions shows a convergence of views. The Court is thus an example of convergence. The permanent judges adapt to the Court’s legal culture.

Keywords: European Court of Human Rights; family law; freedom of expression; freedom of religion; legal culture; privacy law; voting behaviour



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