The Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights after the Treaty of Lisbon
published in Weatherill, de Vries, Bernitz (eds), The Protection of Fundamental Rights in the EU after Lisbon (Hart Publishing 2013)
23 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2014
Date Written: 2012
The Lisbon Treaty introduced some major changes to the nature of fundamental rights protection in the EU, which affect the nature of its relationship with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Article 6 TEU, as amended, ensures the binding, primary law status of the Charter of Fundamental Rights (CFR), as well as creating a new legal basis for the EU to accede to the ECHR. Article 6(3) TEU also confirms the status of fundamental rights emanating from the ECHR and constitutional traditions of the Member States as general principles of EU law.
In particular, the now binding legal status of the CFR and provision for EU accession to the ECHR will affect the relationship between the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), which is the subject of this chapter. It will also further complicate what is an already complex relationship between these two institutions. The key question will be whether these further changes wrought by Lisbon will do anything to improve fundamental rights protection in Europe, or, by adding further layers of complexity, obscure and problematize human rights in the European legal space. This chapter falls into two parts. First, it examines the present position, the nature of the existing relationship between these two institutions, following the commencement of the Lisbon Treaty changes, but prior to the EU’s accession to the ECHR. In the second part, it examines the issue of accession and how this is likely to affect these courts.
Keywords: EU law, European Convention on Human Rights, European Court of Justice, European Court of Human Rights, courts, accession to ECHR, international law
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