The Charter of Fundamental Rights: History and Prospects in Post-Lisbon Europe

EUI Working Papers Law 2011/08

30 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2011

See all articles by David Anderson

David Anderson

Brick Court Chambers; King's College London - The Dickson Poon School of Law

Cian C. Murphy

Doughty Street Chambers

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 31, 2011


The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights has been incorporated into European constitutional law ten years after it was adopted by the EU institutions. In that time the Charter developed from a ‘solemn proclamation’ to a persuasive authority before the European Courts and now a binding Charter for the EU. It has been referred to in the case-law of both the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights. However, the Charter’s history and future are the subject of political contest and academic debate. Along with the accession to the European Convention on Human Rights, it is likely to provide much scope for debate in coming years.

This paper assesses the Charter’s development from a proposal to increase EU legitimacy to its current status as the Union’s own Bill of Rights. It examines the rights protected by the Charter, their sources and how they may be interpreted in light of the ‘Explanations’ in the Official Journal. The case-law of the European Courts on the Charter is catalogued and analysed to determine the Charter’s likely value in human rights litigation. Finally, the chapter analyses the application of the Charter across the EU and considers its implications in the Member States that have limited its effect. Three related themes are woven throughout the analysis: the conflicting motivations of the Member States and the EU institutions, the potential for broadening and strengthening human rights protection in the EU and the Charter’s relationship with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Keywords: EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, Human Rights, Lisbon Treaty, ECHR, European Court of Human Rights, European Court of Justice

Suggested Citation

Anderson, David and Murphy, Cian C., The Charter of Fundamental Rights: History and Prospects in Post-Lisbon Europe (March 31, 2011). EUI Working Papers Law 2011/08, Available at SSRN: or

David Anderson

Brick Court Chambers ( email )

7 - 8 Essex St.
London, WC2R 3LD
United Kingdom

King's College London - The Dickson Poon School of Law

Somerset House East Wing
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

Cian C. Murphy (Contact Author)

Doughty Street Chambers ( email )

10 Doughty Street
London WC1N 2PL
United Kingdom

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