Core Rights and the Protection of Socio-Economic Interests by the ECtHR

Is there a right to housing, or a right to receive social benefits under the European Convention on Human Rights? And what can be the role of core rights in this regard? On the 1st of September 2015, Ingrid Leijten will defend her PhD thesis.

The ECHR does not contain norms that explicitly guarantee socio-economic rights, yet the European Court of Human Rights nevertheless regularly deals with issues concerning housing, health care, social security, etc. It is the task of the ECtHR to provide effective individual rights protection, but it also needs to set clear fundamental rights standards while showing deference to (democratic) decisions made at the national level. Especially when socio-economic issues are concerned, the question is how it can meet these different demands. 

In her thesis, Ingrid Leijten explores the possible use of the notion of ‘core rights’ for improving the reasoning of the ECtHR in socio-economic cases. This notion, briefly stated, entails that a distinction is made between the essential aspects of a right, that deserve extra protection, and the more peripheral aspect thereof. By means of a study of different core rights doctrines she has gained insights in the possibilities and pitfalls inherent in the idea of core rights protection. On the basis thereof, Ingrid Leijten has developed a ‘core rights perspective’ tailored to the protection of socio-economic interests by the ECtHR. She argues that this perspective allows the ECtHR to develop a principled approach to the adjudication of (positive) socio-economic claims that is characterised by a clear demarcation of the scope of the Convention and a focus on minimum guarantees. In this way the ECtHR can leave the necessary room for national laws and policies while ensuring robust socio-economic protection.

Practical information

Promotor: Prof.dr. J.H. Gerards

Date and Location: A.E.M. Leijten LL.M. MA defends her thesis "Core Rights and the Protection of Socio-Economic Interests by the European Court of Human Rights" on the 1st of september 2015 at 16:15 hours in the Academybuilding, Rapenburg 73 in Leiden.

Last Modified: 20-08-2015