European Civil Liberties and the European Convention on Human Rights: A Comparitive Study

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Gearty, Conor A. (ed.). European civil liberties and the European Convention on Human Rights: A comparative study. International Studies in Human Rights Vol. 48. The Hague, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1997. xv + 420 pp. Table of cases by country, index. ISBN 90-411-0253-1.

This thorough, richly-referenced volume is a comparative study of the impact of the European Convention on Human Rights both generally and in relation to selected jurisdictions in Europe (France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom). The book is based on the idea that this Convention "can legitimately claim to be more central to Europe's sense of unity and of democratic identity than the treaties that underpin any other supra-national European organization." The Convention emerged from the Council of Europe, "an institutional environment which has always been entirely focused on the preservation of democracy and human rights."

As the newly emerging, sometimes entirely new, nations of central and eastern Europe have subscribed to the Convention and to the investigative and judicial dimensions that make it work, so (says the editor) it "becomes increasingly credible to view this already venerable document, with its many Protocols, as a potential bill of rights for Europe as a whole." Certainly the resurgence of the Convention has led to an explosion of litigation, with the European Commission and the European Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg both seeing a dramatic increase in the number of applications filed by individuals alleging violations of their human rights by member States. …