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The European Court of Human Rights as an Example of Convergence

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The article summarizes the main findings of a study on the legal culture of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). 1 Special attention is given to the question of how individual legal, vocational, historical and other experiences of the judges have an impact on their voting behaviour. Starting from the debate on convergence and divergence of law, it is legitimate to expect that these formative differences in individual experiences of the judges should matter. Surprisingly, the results gained through interviews, field study and empirical analysis of judgments show that their diversities in background are no hinder to convergence inside the Court. Especially, it is not the mentalités of the judges that create problems to the coming together of differences. Instead, it is in fact the mentalités of judges that promote convergence through pushing specific ideals and fostering homogeneity.

Affiliations: 1: Raoul Wallenberg Institute and Faculty of Law in Lund; Legal advisor at the German Parliament


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