European Journal of Law Reform

Article

Non-Legal Considerations in the Reasoning of the European Court of Human Rights

Keywords ECHR, Convention, human rights, subsidiarity, pretence
Authors Kacper Zajac
Author's information

316039 Kacper Zajac
Kacper Zajac is a LLM student at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) specializing in European Human Rights. He graduated from Aberystwyth University with First Class Honours in 2015. Kacper has published in the area of international law and British constitutional law. He has also worked as a Researcher for the Society of Conservative Lawyers on the pamphlet ‘A Conservative Narrative on International Law: Past, Present and Future’.
  • Abstract

      This article discusses the role of non-legal considerations in the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. First, it considers what legal instruments are available to the Court in interpreting the Convention Rights and why such instruments came to being in the first place. Second, the article identifies what types of non-legal considerations are taken into account by the Court and what impact they have on the Court’s decision-making process. The article argues that the Court pays considerable attention to such considerations and, in certain circumstances, it deploys available legal instruments, such as the margin of appreciation doctrine or fair balance test, to give those non-legal considerations a legal pretence. The article concludes that the importance of the non-legal factors in the decision-making process can be attributed to the vulnerable position of the European Court of Human Rights vis-à-vis the contracting states.

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