Human Rights and French Criminal Justice: Opening the Door to Pre-Trial Defence Rights
HUMAN RIGHTS BROUGHT HOME: SOCIO-LEGAL PERSPECTIVES ON HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE NATIONAL CONTEXT, p. 292, Simon Halliday and Patrick Schmidt, eds., Oxford: Hart, 2004
28 Pages Posted: 13 Nov 2009 Last revised: 14 Nov 2010
Date Written: November 11, 2009
The passing of the Human Rights Act 1998 has been celebrated by many as the dawning of a new era, in which human rights will now become a natural part of UK legal discourse, upheld by the courts, asserted by lawyers and legislated by Parliament. More cautious observers will want to wait a little before proclaiming the legislation an unqualified success. What I seek to do in this chapter is to offer some observations upon another jurisdiction, France, where the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) has been incorporated into domestic law for nearly 30 years. Drawing upon my own qualitative empirical work , as well as case law and recent legislation, I consider some of the ways in which the ECHR has impacted upon the French criminal justice process and the legal actors working within it. An examination of the legal, political and structural contexts that both influence and constrain the reception of Convention rights, illustrates the complexity of operationalising and making effective, even rights which are, in theory, fully incorporated into the domestic legal system. It also poses questions about the nature and scope of Convention rights and the extent to which we can legitimately expect them to provide ‘universal’ guarantees which are understood and applied consistently across jurisdictions .
Keywords: human rights, ECHR, empirical study
JEL Classification: K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation