EU Accession to the ECHR: Competence, Procedure and Substance

38 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2013

See all articles by Paul P. Craig

Paul P. Craig

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law

Date Written: November 12, 2013


The issues raised by EU Accession to the ECHR have already generated a valuable and growing literature. This article seeks to contribute to this literature. The discussion begins with an overview of the European Union’s competence to accede to the European Convention on Human Rights, and the process by which the Accession Agreement was negotiated. The focus then shifts to analysis of whether the EU needs its own Charter of Rights in addition to membership of the ECHR.

This is followed by examination of a range of procedural issues raised by EU accession to the ECHR. This includes the choices open to claimants when pursuing rights-based claims and the constraints placed on those choices resulting from EU accession to the ECHR. It will be seen that accession raises difficult issues concerning who should be the respondent and co-respondent in any particular case, and the manner in which a case concerning Convention rights is routed to the European Court of Human Rights. The new schema will moreover generate problems of delay.

The final section of the article addresses some of the prominent substantive issue raised by EU accession to the ECHR. This includes a re-assessment of the case law defining the relationship between the EU and the ECHR prior to accession and evaluation of the extent to which it is relevant post accession; discussion of the impact of accession on the autonomy of EU law; and consideration of the way in which the ECHR rights and Charter rights will interact in the future.

Keywords: accession, fundamental rights, competence, procedure, autonomy

Suggested Citation

Craig, Paul P., EU Accession to the ECHR: Competence, Procedure and Substance (November 12, 2013). Fordham International Law Journal, Vol. 36, No. 1115, 2013, Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 4/2014, Available at SSRN:

Paul P. Craig (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )

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