European Court of Human Rights

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A new variety of rights-based climate litigation: a challenge against the Energy Charter Treaty before the European Court of Human Rights

In the last couple of years, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has become a hotspot for rights-based climate change litigation. At the time of writing, seven cases are pending before the Court, with applicants seeking to challenge various aspects of domestic climate change laws and policies in the various respondent states, arguing that they violate their human rights protected by the Convention. On the 21st of June 2022, news broke that yet another case would be lodged before the Court. The case, however, is distinct from the others, in the sense that it targets state membership in an international agreement, namely the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), on the grounds that it unjustly protects fossil fuel investors. The case (the ‘ECT case’) is the first before the Court to draw links between human rights, investment law, and climate change. This post seeks to situate such a claim in the context of cases currently pending before the ECtHR and highlights the challenges that applicants may come to face in their efforts.

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The Sad and Cynical Spectacle of the Draft British Bill of Rights

It is a habit peculiar to autocracies to choose names for themselves that are the exact opposite of their true nature – viz. the ‘Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’ – and to have constitutions loudly proclaiming the protection of individual rights that are routinely trampled upon in practice. You would have hoped that one of the world’s oldest…

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Ecodefence v Russia: The ECtHR’s stance on Foreign Funding of Civil Society

On June 14th, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) added its voice to the critics of the Russian Foreign Agents Act with its judgment the Case of Ecodefence and Others v. Russia. Ever since the Act was passed in 2012, it was severely criticized by both Russian civil society and international institutions, including the Venice…

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Victim Status before the ECtHR in Cases of Alleged Omissions: The Swiss Climate Case

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) announced on Friday, 29th April, that the Swiss Climate case will be dealt with by the Grand Chamber. In accordance with article 30 of the ECHR, the competent Chamber relinquished jurisdiction in favour of the Grand Chamber. This option can be used when the seven…

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Russia and the European human rights system: Doing the right thing … but for the right legal reason?

Less than a month after its invasion of Ukraine, the Russian Federation has ceased to be a member of the Council of Europe. On 16 March 2022, the Committee of Ministers decided to expel Russia from the regional organization with immediate effect, although without resolving the many legal consequences of this decision. Perhaps the most important…

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