17 Colum. J. Eur. L. 307 (2010)
Nicolas A.J. Croquet, DPhil in Law, University of Oxford; LL.M., Columbia Law School; M.I.A., Columbia University (SIPA); MJUR, University of Oxford.
The ECtHR has resorted to an extra-textual interpretation of the ECHR at three different normative phases of human rights reasoning: definition of scope, review of external limits placed on the exercise of rights not subject to a limitation clause, and review of suspension measures in case of public emergency. Whilst the first phase is characterized by the Court’s over-inclusiveness in the protection of human rights standards, the second and third phases reflect, for the most part, the Court’s under-inclusiveness in the protection of human rights standards. Some legal uncertainty exists not only within these distinct approaches, but also in the way in which they relate to one another. This legal observation has transpired, amongst others, from the ECtHR being much more receptive to international and comparative law developments at the definitional level than when legitimizing external limits upon non-limitable rights or when shaping the Article 15 derogation regime. This legal uncertainty in breach of the rule of law principle can be attenuated by a re-orientation of the ECtHR’s mission towards more constitutional justice and by the achievement of institutional reforms such as the inclusion of a fair trial chamber within the Strasbourg system, the adoption of an advisory opinion procedure involving national courts and the adjunction of a permanent legal advisor to the ECtHR modeled on the institution of the E. U. Courts’Advocate-General.