Compliance and Compensation: Money as a Currency of Human Rights
iCourts Working Papers Series, no 256 (2021)
Forthcoming in Rachel Murray and Debra Long, Handbook of implementation of Human Rights (Edward Elgar) 2022
22 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2021 Last revised: 15 Nov 2021
Date Written: September 3, 2021
This Chapter explores the tight link between money and compliance in the European human rights system. On one side, I reveal how important compensation is as a remedy in ECtHR case law and how the desire to facilitate implementation influences the European Court to set damages at values that appear realistic and payable. The ECtHR’s decision to offer a discount on quantity to repetitive violators is examined further and I assess whether in practice it actually leads to faster compliance. On the other side, the Chapter investigates how compensation awarded by the European Court of Human Rights is implemented in member states of the Council of Europe. By focusing exclusively on damages, I show how often and how quickly states pay damage awards and how the ECtHR enjoys much better compliance rates than other international courts. I also show that if our focus is on securing the fastest implementation possible, then friendly settlements offer an even better option than judgments with monetary awards. But speed is not always the solution. The article shows that when individual states have to introduce large compensation schemes to comply with ECtHR judgments, these require concrete changes in domestic legal system and take time and effort. Especially when structural changes are sought, monetary incentives need to operate on multiple levels, including in relation to officials and public servants, to facilitate them to enable systemic changes in domestic law and thus bring about successful implementation of an ECtHR judgment.
Keywords: European Court of Human Rights, compensation, compliance, remedies, just satisfaction, socio-legal approaches, empirical studies, quantitative, qualitative, mixed-methods
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