The European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms: Its influence on the national legislation and administrative practices of its member-states
This study examines the possibility that the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms influences the national legislation and administrative practices of its Member-States. The Convention, overseen by the Council of Europe, guarantees to the citizens of its Member-States certain human rights and the right to appeal for redress from a Member-State that violates these rights. The European Commission of Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights administer the Convention. The author contends that the Commission's and the Court's findings influence the national legislation and administrative practices of the state found in violation. The research showed that frequently national legislation or administrative practices were altered or initiated as a result of a finding against a Member-State. A number of cases were examined in which the government found to be in violation of the Convention--and sometimes governments that were not even before the Strasbourg organs--declared that domestic law or procedure would be revised to reflect the Convention spirit. Some changes resulted from a finding in Strasbourg as well as societal pressures within the state involved in the proceedings. The Convention's strength and influence is illustrated by such cases. The results lead to the conclusion that the European Convention on Human Rights does influence its Member-States' national legislation and administrative practices when necessary to uphold their obligation to the Convention. In addition, as states respond to the Convention's findings, human rights legislation amoung the Member-States becomes more uniform, helping in some measure to unify Europe--which is one of the goals of the Council of Europe.