The European Court of Human Rights' Evolving Approach to Non-Governmental Organizations
Anna V. Dolidze
Cornell Law School
January 18, 2011
GLOBALIZATION AND GOVERNANCE, Laurence Boulle ed., 2011
The paper advances the theory on the relationship between the European Court of Human Rights and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). The theory emerges as a result of the study of the Court’s caselaw on admissibility of claims by non-governmental organizations. The European Court of Human Rights has developed a "negative-substantive" ratione personae admissibility test for NGOs. The Court defines NGOs through the test. However, the Court has expanded the test and has reshaped the definition. The paper evidences that over time, as the line between private-public organizational forms of litigants had been blurred, the Court shifted its admissibility test by narrowing its requirements for "independence" of applicant organizations and thereby, by allowing for admission of more claims by what it regarded as Non-Governmental Organizations. Subsequently, the Court considered as separate from the government a larger number of entities. Building on the possibility to claim rights on the international level, these entities, by the same token, enlarged and strengthened the machinery of the European Court of Human Rights. In line with arguments in literature on judicial expansionism of international tribunals, the paper illustrates how this move has, in turn, fueled the case law of the Court and has contributed to raising its influence. As such, the paper contributes to the debate on non-state actors and global governance and to the scholarship on the international judicial expansionism.
Keywords: NGOs, the European Court of Human Rights, ratione personae, judicial expansionismAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: October 27, 2011
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