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Why we post: a global perspective on social media

How do people use social media in different parts of the world, and what are the implications? Professor Daniel Miller explains what a team of anthropologists found by sending 15 months each in nine small towns all over the world, comparing social media use. You can engage with their research through a variety of free online resources including UCL’s first massive open online course (MOOC) starting on 29th February, a series of open access books published by UCL Press, and a short video.
25 November 2015
Daniel Miller  More...

Starts: Nov 25, 2015 12:00:00 AM

Cameron - Banning Milk and Cheese

Pablo Echenique is one of the five Podemos members elected to the European Parliament in 2014, and currently running for parliament in the upcoming Spanish general election. On Monday 26 October, he was scheduled to talk at the UCL European Institute, however the event had to be cancelled when he ran into difficulties at the UK Border. Here, he explains the full story…
2 November 2015
Pablo Echenique

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

Flights from Freedom

Eva Hoffman, former editor of The New York Times and Visiting Professor at the UCL European Institute, asks what propels individuals to turn to extremist movements and argues that we need to build a ‘culture of democracy’ with shared norms and ethics.
22 October 2015
Eva Hoffman More...

Starts: Oct 22, 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.


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


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