Episode 24: Vainly knocking on the shut doors of Strasbourg

When a door is firmly shut, getting it to open can be very difficult. This image is useful to understand the effect of a finding by the European Court of Human Rights that a provision of the European Convention on Human Rights is either not applicable or not violated.


(If you have problems with the embedded player use this link to listen).

Strasbourg negative rulings are often categorical. They tend to get repeated from one case to the next, in a fairly automatic manner. They result in applicants being summarily rejected when they come knocking on the Strasbourg doors.

A violation verdict is less categorical. It effects an opening – but how wide this opening is typically needs to be tested over time.

Maaouia is an example of shut doors that was examined in the last episode. In this episode, I discuss other examples: Abdulaziz, Cabales and Balkandali (no right to family reunion), N. v. UK (return to an early death), and Saadi v. UK (immigration detention for administrative convenience).

To download a copy of this podcast right-click this link and choose ‘Download Linked File’ or ‘Save Link As…’.

Please note that the podcast will take a short break over the summer and return for the final six episodes in September.

Episode seven: Strasbourg wakes up to the predicament of migrants

In this episode I discuss the moment when migrants began to be able to make successful applications to the European Court of Human Rights.


After the Court system was set up in 1959, there were many applications from migrants, but they were either ruled inadmissible or ended on friendly settlements. The Court did not examine the merits of a migrant case until 1985 and this judgment could not even be said to have been favourable to migrants.

Senior people in the Council of Europe started to question in the early 1980s whether migrants had human rights under the Convention. They included Peter Leuprecht, the Director of Human Rights who went on to become the institution’s Deputy Secretary–General.

In 1983, Leuprecht brought together 200 senior figures including judges, politicians and representatives of civil society to discuss the issue.

If you like my podcast click the ‘Follow’ button in bottom-right corner of your screen and enter your email address. You’ll receive each new episode when it’s posted.

To download a copy of this podcast right-click this link and choose ‘Download Linked File’ or ‘Save Link As…’.