When Human Rights Clash at the European Court of Human Rights: Conflict or Harmony?
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When Human Rights Clash at the European Court of Human Rights: Conflict or Harmony?
Stijn Smet and Eva Brems, eds.
Oxford University Press 2017

  • Provides thorough analysis of leading Judgments of the ECtHR on human rights conflicts, including: freedom of expression versus right to reputation (defamation) and freedom of religion versus right to private life
  • Sets out different theoretical approaches to human rights conflicts, offering new insights
  • Offers practical solutions to human rights conflicts

The notion of conflict rests at the heart of the judicial function. Judges are routinely asked to resolve disputes and defuse tensions. Yet, when judges are called upon to adjudicate a purported conflict between human rights, they face particular challenges and must address specific questions. Some of these concern the very existence of human rights conflicts. Can human rights really conflict with one another, in terms of mutual incompatibility? Or should human rights be interpreted in harmony with one another? Other questions concern the resolution of real conflicts. To the extent that human rights do conflict, how should these conflicts be resolved? To what extent is balancing desirable? And if it is desirable, which understanding of balancing should judges employ? This book seeks to provide both theoretical and practical answers to these questions. 

When Human Rights Clash at the European Court of Human Rights: Conflict or Harmony? debates both the existence and resolution of human rights conflicts, in the specific context of the case law of the European Court of Human Rights. The contributors put forth principled and pragmatic arguments and propose theoretical as well as practical approaches, whilst firmly embedding their proposals in the case law of the European Court. Doing so, this book provides concrete ways forward in the ongoing debate on conflicts of rights at Europe's human rights court.

Author Information
Stijn Smet, Postdoctoral Fellow at Melbourne Law School
Eva Brems, Professor of Human Rights Law, Ghent University

Contributors:
Stijn Smet
Samantha Besson
Sébastien Van Drooghenbroeck
Eva Brems
Lorenzo Zucca
Dolores Morondo Taramundi
Russell Sandberg
Dirk Voorhoof
Leto Cariolou
Javier Martínez-Torrón
Ian Leigh