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Against settlement before the European Court of Human Rights

Fikfak, Veronika; (2022) Against settlement before the European Court of Human Rights. International Journal of Constitutional Law , Article moac087. 10.1093/icon/moac087. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Even though they represent almost 50% of all reported cases before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), settlements of human rights violations escape scholars’ attention. While victims are increasingly expected to resolve their disputes amicably, it is unclear whether applicants will be better off accepting settlement offers rather than proceeding to litigation. The article charts the practice of friendly settlements before the Court from the 1980s to today, mapping a shift in approach from seeking bilateral solutions to the proactive role of the Registry as mediator encouraging states and applicants to settle their cases to relieve the Court of the heavy workload. The study of 10,500 cases reveals how strategies adopted by the Registry—from procedural changes to how and when consent is given to settlement, to the framing of settlement offers, and a close relationship with representatives of the respondent state—have favored the most frequent violators of the European Convention on Human Rights and sidelined the interests of the applicant. The analysis uncovers that the imbalance between parties and lack of enforcement are very much present in the ECtHR settlement system and that the active role of the Registry has reinforced, rather than redressed these concerns. The findings expose the dangers of pursuing en masse settlement in the human rights context and raise concerns about achieving long-term justice for victims of human rights violations through other means than adjudication.

Type: Article
Title: Against settlement before the European Court of Human Rights
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/icon/moac087
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/icon/moac087
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10160551
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