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International Court Authority$
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Karen J. Alter, Laurence R. Helfer, and Mikael Rask Madsen

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198795582

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198795582.001.0001

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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: 24 January 2021

The European Court of Human Rights

The European Court of Human Rights

From the Cold War to the Brighton Declaration and Backlash

(p.243) 11 The European Court of Human Rights
International Court Authority

Mikael Rask Madsen

Oxford University Press

This chapter studies the transformation of the authority of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) since its genesis. It shows how the ECtHR, until the mid-to-late 1970s, struggled to maintain narrow legal authority. Both the Court’s caseload and civil society engagement changed fundamentally however throughout the late 1980s and the 1990s when the ECtHR gained intermediate and extensive authority in large parts of Europe. During this period, the Court became the de facto Supreme Court of human rights in Europe. Starting around 2000, the Court became increasingly overburdened. It was in the context that a number of member states launched a systematic critique of both the Court’s power over national law and politics and the quality of the Court’s judges and their judgments. This discontent climaxed with the 2012 Brighton Declaration, adopted by all forty-seven member states, which began an institutionalized process that aimed to limit the ECtHR’s power.

Keywords:   European Court of Human Rights, legal authority, intermediate authority, extensive authority, human rights, Brighton Declaration

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