Leading cases of the European Court of Human Rights

ldrop2093  2019-2020  Louvain-la-Neuve

Leading cases of the European Court of Human Rights
Note from June 29, 2020
Although we do not yet know how long the social distancing related to the Covid-19 pandemic will last, and regardless of the changes that had to be made in the evaluation of the June 2020 session in relation to what is provided for in this learning unit description, new learnig unit evaluation methods may still be adopted by the teachers; details of these methods have been - or will be - communicated to the students by the teachers, as soon as possible.
5 credits
30.0 h
Callewaert Johan;
Main themes
By way of introduction, the course will first deal with the basic principles governing the procedure before the Court and the latter's competence (distinction between admissibility and merits, admissibility requirements, scope of the case, etc.). This will be followed by an in-depth analysis of the leading cases relating to each of the substantial rights laid down in the Convention (including the right to life, the prohibition of torture, the right to freedom and security, to a fair trial, to respect for private and family life, the freedom of expression and association, the prohibition of discrimination and the protection of property). Finally, the most relevant case-law on the award of just satisfaction and the execution of the Court's judgments as well as on the relationship between the Convention and EU law will be addressed.

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

1 The European Court of Human Rights is tasked with authoritatively interpreting the European Convention on Human Rights which contains the only pan-European, binding and justiciable catalogue of fundamental rights available to date. Nearly all European States, including Belgium, have incorporated the Convention into their domestic legal system, often conferring on it precedence over ordinary law.

The course aims at making the students familiar with the most important principles and trends emerging from the Court's case-law, so as to enable them to usefully rely on the Convention in the expanding number of fields where it applies. In addition, the course will provide students with an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the use of legal English, which plays an ever increasing role in the international sphere. For this purpose, the emphasis will be placed on reading, understanding and discussing the main Court's judgments, a collection of which will be made available as course material. Finally, it should be mentioned that the content of the course will be determined so as to be complementary to the other two courses making up the human rights option (DROP2091 and DROP2092).

The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
The course will focus on a selection of leading cases of the European Court of Human Rights covering the main rights laid down in the European Convention on Human Rights and its Protocols. Topics thereby addressed include, among others, the protection against ill-treatment, the protection of children and other vulnerable persons, the protection against arbitrary detention, the right to a fair trial (due process), the protection of private and family life, the protection against environmental pollution, the protection of personal data in the information society, the prohibition of discrimination, the protection of property, freedom of expression of citizens and of the press, protection against hate speech and, last but not least, the protection of democracy.
Teaching methods
In the class, the emphasis will be on reading, understanding and discussing the Court's judgments, a collection of which will be made available in a casebook. This will be achieved via the explanations by the lecturer but also via an interactive dialogue between the lecturer and the students initiated by a series of questions from the lecturer on the implications of the judgments under consideration. While active participation in this dialogue is not mandatory for students, it has a positive impact on their marks at the exam.
Evaluation methods
At the end of the course there will be a written exam whereby students are asked to apply the Court’s case-law to a fictitious story based on the cases examined in class. They can do so with the help of their casebook, using either the Court's or their own words, it being understood that purely linguistic mistakes will be disregarded. Upon request students can be allowed to take the exam in French but a somewhat reduced level of marks will then be applied.
Other information
Since this course is not a language but a law course, students will not be penalized for linguistic mistakes they might make either in class or at the exam. Medium-level English should therefore be sufficient to follow the course successfully.

Further information on this course can be found on the Moodle-page dedicated to it.
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Master [120] in European Studies

Master [120] in Law

Master [120] in Law (shift schedule)

Advanced Master in European Law

Advanced Master in International Law