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The legitimising role of judicial dialogue between the United Kingdom courts and the European Court of Human Rights

Davies, Gregory 2017. The legitimising role of judicial dialogue between the United Kingdom courts and the European Court of Human Rights. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Since the enactment of the Human Rights Act 1998, discussions have developed concerning a judicial ‘dialogue’ taking place between the UK courts and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) over the interpretation of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and its application to UK law. This thesis contributes to these debates by offering a judicially-informed account of the dialogue between these courts based on in-depth interviews conducted with eight Justices of the UK Supreme Court and four judges of the European Court of Human Rights. It combines these insights with analysis of case law, extra-judicial commentary and contributions from political and legal theory to explore the role of judicial dialogue in legitimising the judgments of these courts. In this way, the thesis offers a unique methodological approach to a highly topical area of constitutional discourse in the UK. The thesis argues that dialogue has arisen in response to legitimacy challenges facing these courts based on concerns over the extent of the ECtHR’s influence in the UK. Both at the level of judgments and through informal meetings, dialogue responds to these challenges through the participation of the national courts in the jurisprudential development of ECHR rights, the accountability of the ECtHR to domestic judicial concerns, and the ongoing revision and refinement of the Convention rights at the supranational level to accommodate for legal and constitutional diversity. To this extent, dialogue is part of a wider effort to legitimise the Convention system and the courts charged with upholding it by strengthening the role and identity of the domestic courts in human rights adjudication, as reflected in the reemphasis on subsidiarity and the common law ‘resurgence’. However, the thesis also observes that a significant part of the dialogue resides in an increased willingness by the UK courts to refuse to apply parts of the ECtHR’s case law, and a tendency by the ECtHR to accommodate that refusal. On this basis, it argues that the process also carries the risk of delegitimising the ECHR system by promoting a disposition to disobey on the part of national authorities across the Council of Europe.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Law
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
K Law > KD England and Wales
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 19 December 2017
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2021 01:24

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