Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter February 8, 2017

The European Court of Human Rights and Transnational Judicial Dialogue

Carla M Zoethout
From the journal ICL Journal


Over the past decade, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) seems more and more inclined to use foreign sources of law, that is to say, law that does not originate in the Convention itself or in one of the Member States of the Council of Europe. Unlike in the US, there is little discussion in Europe about this form of judicial dialogue in the case-law of the ECtHR. This paper seeks both to clarify transnational dialogue by the ECtHR and find ways to justify this practice, against the backdrop of the American debate on this topic. First, the concept of transnational judicial dialogue is analysed (Part II). Then judicial dialogue as it presents itself in the judgments of the ECtHR is assessed, especially when non-Convention or foreign law is being used in a substantive way (Part III). Subsequently, an attempt is made to define when and why the use of foreign law by the ECtHR can be considered a justifiable approach in judicial decision-making (Part IV). The paper rounds off with some concluding remarks (Part V).

Published Online: 2017-2-8
Published in Print: 2015-9-1

© 2017 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston