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A Traffic-Light System of State Arguments before the European Court of Human Rights

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Conall Mallory



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Brill, 2020.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Despite an often-tense relationship between Contracting Parties and those who administer the ECHR, the atmosphere within the ECtHR remains relatively peaceful. I suggest that this harmony is the result of a traffic-light system of state arguments: ‘green’ for acceptable orthodox arguments, ‘amber’ for more dubious submissions and ‘red’ for contentions that exceed the parameters of appropriate conduct. Using Stanley Fish’s theory on interpretive communities, I contend that the determining factor behind the acceptability of an argument is the reaction that it receives from the other stakeholders within the Convention system. The harmony is therefore the product of an implicit system of internal regulation. Given the present global backlash against human rights, and ‘Strasbourg bashing’ more specifically, this is not something to be taken for granted.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mallory C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Convention on Human Rights Law Review

Year: 2020

Volume: 1

Issue: 2

Pages: 181–217

Online publication date: 18/11/2020

Acceptance date: 31/01/2020

Date deposited: 03/03/2020

ISSN (print): 2666-3228

ISSN (electronic): 2666-3236

Publisher: Brill


DOI: 10.1163/26663236-bja10009


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