Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
A Theory of Interpretation of the European Convention on Human Rights$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

George Letsas

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199203437

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199203437.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 January 2022

Intentionalism, Textualism, and Evolutive Interpretation

Intentionalism, Textualism, and Evolutive Interpretation

(p.58) 3 Intentionalism, Textualism, and Evolutive Interpretation
A Theory of Interpretation of the European Convention on Human Rights

George Letsas

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks at the role that drafters' intentions and the text should play in the interpretation of the ECHR. The European Court has been relatively consistent in rejecting intentionalism and textualism as interpretive methods, in favor of the so-called ‘evolutive’ or ‘living instrument’ approach. The chapter provides a philosophical defence of the Court's approach drawing on the relevant debates about the interpretation of the US Constitution. It is argued that neither the text, nor drafters' intentions, can alone justify why the ECHR grants a particular right or not. Certainty and publicity, two values often cited in support of intentionalism and textualism, have no application in the ECHR which is neither meant to guide individuals' conduct nor to protect States' expectations about what their ECHR obligations are. On the contrary, the ECHR aims to prohibit States from treating individuals in a certain way, however convenient or justified they may find it.

Keywords:   textualism, evolutive interpretation, certainty, drafters' intentions, intentionalism, publicity, expectations, living-instrument

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .