The European Convention on Human Rights: A Socio-Economic Rights Charter?
Liam Thornton, "'The European Convention on Human Rights: A Socio-Economic Rights Charter?", in Suzanne Egan, Liam Thornton, Judy Walsh (eds). Ireland and the European Convention on Human Rights: 60 Years and Beyond (Dublin: Bloomsbury, 2014), pp.227-256.
36 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2015
Date Written: November 1, 2014
The European Court of Human Rights has shown significant weariness in interpreting the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) as protecting socio-economic rights. Issues of political legitimacy, judicial proprietary and resource allocation would play more heavily on an internationalised court than may be the case within domestic court systems. There are increasing signs that the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) is now recognising the interdependent and indivisible nature of civil and political rights and socio-economic rights. This chapter examines the extent to which the ECHR as interpreted by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has led to a more nuanced understanding and interplay between economic and social rights and civil and political rights. Recent substantive socio-economic rights jurisprudence suggests that the impact of the ECHR in this area has yet to be fully realised. This chapter examines the jurisprudence of the ECtHR under Article 2, the right to life, Article 3, protection from inhuman and degrading treatment and Article 8, right to private and family life, of the ECHR in dealing with socio-economic rights. While this jurisprudence is developing, it cannot be said definitively that socio-economic rights are protected by the ECHR. However, the interpretation of the ECHR by the ECtHR seems to suggest that the neat division of socio-economic rights from civil and political rights is waning. While there is much to commend a re-focus on the discourse on socio-economic rights towards budget analysis, the focus on this chapter is within the narrow confines of judicial engagement with individual claims that socio-economic rights were violated.
Keywords: European Law, Socio Economic Rights, European Convention of Human Rights, Ireland, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, European Court of Human Rights, European Convention on Human Rights, Human Rights and Social Justice
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