Welcome to the UCL European Institute, UCL's hub for research, collaboration and information on Europe and the European Union.

UCL European Institute

Contact us

16 Taviton St
London
WC1H 0BW
+44 (0) 207 679 8737
european.institute@ucl.ac.uk

How to find us >>

trans32.pngtrans32.pngtrans32.pngtrans32.png

Resources 

COMMENTS 

An interview with the President of the European Court of Human Rights

Dean Spielmann, President of the European Court of Human Rights since September 2012, has served as a Judge in the Court for over a decade. In a recent interview with the UCL Law Society’s Silk v. Brief, highlights of which are condensed in the blog post below, he discusses the evolving role of human rights in Europe, and explores the complicated relationship between the UK and the European Convention on Human Rights.
Dean Spielmann
23 March 2015 More...

Starts: Mar 23, 2015 12:00:00 AM

In Defence of Rights

Philippe Sands, Professor of Law at UCL and practising barrister in international law, and Helena Kennedy, a leading barrister and academic in human rights law, civil liberties and constitutional issues, were members of the 2011 Commission on a Bill of Rights. In highlights from a recent article in the London Review of Books, they discuss how human rights intersect with politics, examine the UK’s strained relationship with the European Convention on Human Rights, and question the possible motivations lying behind the proposed Bill.
Prof. Philippe Sands 
Helena Kennedy
1 April 2015 More...

Starts: Apr 1, 2015 12:00:00 AM

Exploring ‘Exploratory Governance': the Hertie Governance Report 2015

With the Eurozone crisis not yet over, Albert Weale, Professor of Political Theory and Public Policy at UCL, reviews the Hertie Governance Report 2015 as it analyses the key issues facing the European Institutions in terms of economic governance. As ad hoc solutions are found to deal with urgent matters, what does this mean for political accountability and reform in the EU, and what lessons have been learnt?
Prof. Albert Weale
14 April 2015 More...

Starts: Apr 14, 2015 12:00:00 AM

The Margin of Appreciation

UCL European Institute

This section gathers resources in relation to the lecture by Dean Spielmann, President of the European Court of Human Rights, on the Margin of Appreciation doctrine. Note: the lecture will be published in Current Legal Problems, volume 67, 2014.

1. POLICY BRIEFING

Margin thumbnail This policy briefing discusses the margin of appreciation doctrine; a very prominent instrument which is used to allow states room for manoeuver in the manner in which they apply some of the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights. This policy briefing provides an overview of:
• The content and functions of the doctrine;
• Its origins in the European Court of Human Rights' case law;
• The likely future of the margin of appreciation doctrine
Download


2. BIBLIOGRAPHY AND ONLINE RESOURCES

I. Overview

For a general overview of the margin of appreciation doctrine, see:

For a critical overview of current debates in relation to the margin of appreciation in the UK, see: 

II. Lectures
III. Articles
  • G Letsas, ‘The ECHR as a Living Instrument: Its Meaning and its Legitimacy’ (March 14, 2012)
  • B Hale, ‘Argentoratum Locutum: Is the Strasbourg or the Supreme Court Supreme?’ (2012) 12: 1 Human Rights Law Review 65
  • N Bratza, ‘The Relationship Between the UK Courts and Strasbourg’ (2011) 5 European Human Rights Law Review 505
  • D Spielmann, ‘En jouant sur les marges. La Cour européenne des droits de l’homme et la théorie de la marge d’appréciation nationale: abandon ou subsidiarité du contrôle européen?’ (2010) Actes de la Section des Sciences Morales et Politiques, Vol. XIII, 203
  • G Letsas, ‘Strasbourg’s Interpretive Ethic: Lessons for the International Lawyer’, (2010) 21 European Journal of International Law 1
  • K Cavanaugh, ‘Policing The Margins: Rights Protection And The European Court Of Human Rights’ (2006) 4 European Human Rights Law Review 422
  • G Letsas, ‘Two Concepts of the Margin of Appreciation’ (2006) 26 (4) Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 705
  • J A Brauch, ‘The margin of Appreciation and the Jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights: Threat to the Rule of law’, (2004) 11:1 Columbia Journal of European Law 113
  • E Benvenisti, ‘Margin of appreciation, consensus, and universal standards’ (1998) 31 NYU Journal of International Law & Politics 843 
  • Lord Lester of Herne Hill, ‘Universality versus Subsidiarity: A Reply’ (1998) 1 European Human Rights Law Review 73
  • P Mahoney, ‘Universality versus Subsidiarity’ (1997) 4 European Human Rights Law Review 364
  • E Brems, ‘The Margin of Appreciation Doctrine in the Case-Law of the European Court of Human Rights’ (1996) Zeitschrift für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht 240
IV. Books and book chapters
  • D Spielmann, M Tsirli and P Voyatzis (eds), The European Convention on Human Rights, a living instrument, Essays in Honour of Christos L. Rozakis (Bruylant, 2011)
  • G Letsas, A Theory of Interpretation of the European Convention on Human Rights (2nd edn, OUP 2009), with a foreword by Judge Spielmann
  • Y Arai-Takahashi, The Margin of Appreciation Doctrine and the Principle of Proportionality in the Jurisprudence of the ECHR (Intersentia 2002)
  • J Callewaert, ‘Quel avenir pour la marge d’appréciation ?’ in P Mahoney, F Matscher, H Petzold and L Wildhaber (eds), Protecting Human Rights: The European Perspective. Studies in memory of Rolv Ryssdal (Carl Heymanns Verlag 2000)
  • P Lambert, ‘Marge nationale d’appréciation et contrôle de proportionnalité’, in F Sudre (ed), L’interprétation de la Convention européenne des droits de l’homme (Bruylant 1998) 63.
  • H C Yourow, The Margin of Appreciation Doctrine in the Dynamics of European Human Rights Jurisprudence (Kluwer 1996)
V. Selected case law
  • Lawless v. Ireland (App no 332/57) judgment of 01.07.1961
  • Case "Relating to certain aspects of the laws on the use of languages in education in Belgium" v. Belgium (App no 1474/62, 1677/62, 1691/62, 1769/63, 1994/63, 2126/64), 23.07.1968
  • Handyside v. The United Kingdom (App no 5493/72), 7.12.1976
  • Engel and others v. The United Kingdom (App no 5101/71, 5354/72, 5102/71, 5370/72), 8.06.1976.
  • Ireland v. The United Kingdom (App no 5310/71), 18.01.1978
  • Klass and others v. Germany (App no 5029/71) 06.09.1978
  • Sunday Times v The United Kingdom (App no 6538/74), 26.04.1979 
  • Marckx v. Belgium (App no 6833/74), 13.06.1979
  • X and Y v. The Netherlands (App no 8978/80), 26.03.1985
  • James and Others v. the United Kingdom (App no 77033/01), 21.02.1986
  • Otto-Preminger-Institut v. Austria, App no 13470/87, 20.09.1994
  • Goodwin v. The United Kingdom (App no 28957/95), 27.03.1996
  • Dahlab v. Switzerland (App no 42393/98), 15.02.2001
  • Fretté v. France (App no 36515/97), 26.02.2002
  • Pretty v. The United Kingdom (App no 2346/02), 29.07.2002
  • Von Hannover v. Germany (App no 59320/00), 24.06.2004 
  • Sahin v. Turkey (App no 44774/98), 29.06.2004
  • Vo v. France (App no 53924/00), 8.07.2004
  • Hirst v. The United Kingdom (no. 2) (App no 74025/01), 6.09.2005
  • Stec and Others v. The United Kingdom (App no 65731/01, 65900/01), 12.04.2006
  • Evans v. the United Kingdom (App no 6339/05), 10.04.2007
  • Saadi v. Italy (App no 37201/06), 28.02.2008.
  • A and others v. The United Kingdom (App no 3455/05), 19.02.2009
  • A, B and C v. Ireland (App no 25579/05), 16.12.2010
  • Lautsi and others v. Italy (App no 30814/06), 18.02.2011
  • Von Hannover v. Germany (No 2) (App no 40660/08), 7.02.2012
  • Axel Springer AG v. Germany (App no 39954/08), 7.02.2012
  • Othman (Abu Qatada) v. The United Kingdom (App no 8139/09), 17.01.2012
  • Eweida and others v. The United Kingdom, (App no 48420/10, 59842/10, 51671/10 and 36516/10), 15.01.2013
  • Vallianatos and others v. Greece (App no 29381/09, 32684/09), 7.11.2013