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When Human Rights Clash at the European Court of Human RightsConflict or Harmony?$
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Stijn Smet and Eva Brems

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198795957

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198795957.001.0001

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Law, Dilemmas, and Happy Endings

Law, Dilemmas, and Happy Endings

(p.95) 5 Law, Dilemmas, and Happy Endings
When Human Rights Clash at the European Court of Human Rights

Lorenzo Zucca

Oxford University Press

Genuine conflicts of rights imply a choice between two valuable goods and an inevitable sacrifice as a consequence. In Evans v. The United Kingdom the choice was between imposing fatherhood on one of the parties or denying biological motherhood to the other. The case was presented as a dilemma, and this chapter suggests a cautious approach to the resolution of dilemmas. In medical ethics, technological advancements largely determine the range of options open to individuals. Medical progress is so fast that a dead end one day can become an opportunity the next. This reshapes the choices individuals have and ultimately dispels the necessary choice between options that seemed to lead to a sacrifice of value. This chapter argues that given the state of incessant medical progress, it is fundamental that the law refrains from coercing either party to do something without their consent.

Keywords:   rights, conflicts of rights, medical ethics, tragedy, conflicts of values, technology, European Court of Human Rights, ECtHR, Evans v. The United Kingdom

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