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Law Notes European Human Rights Law Notes

Extra Territoriality Quick Notes

Updated Extra Territoriality Quick Notes

European Human Rights Law Notes

European Human Rights Law

Approximately 305 pages

European Human Rights law notes fully updated for recent exams at Oxford and Cambridge, UK. These notes cover all the major European Human Rights cases and are perfect for anyone doing an LLB , or masters level legal study in the UK. Due to the international element to this subject, these notes will be an excellent supplement for those doing LLBs abroad....

The following is a more accessible plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our European Human Rights Law Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

Extra-Territorial Application of the ECHR

Article 1, ECHR:

‘The High Contracting Parties shall secure to everyone within their jurisdiction the rights and freedoms defined in Section I of this Convention.’

  1. Case Law

Initially based on a heavily territorial approach in Bankovic, propagating a view of jurisdiction as attached to the territory.

  • ‘Exercise of extra-territorial jurisdiction by a Contracting State is exceptional… done so when the respondent state, through the effective control of the relevant territory and its inhabitants abroad as a consequence of military occupation or through the consent, invitation or acquiescence of the Government of that territory, exercise all or some of the public powers normally to be exercised by that Government.’

    • This does not necessarily have to be construed as extra-territorial, in that it is as if it were that State’s territory – it is de facto territory.

    • Added public powers/espace jurisdique requirements to Loizidou (important here that not a ‘troops on the ground’ situation, but bombing from above).

  • This led to a number of stark distinctions, such as in Smith v Ministry of Defence – soldier held all the rights of the Convention while inside a military base, but none when outside.

  • This was due to the fact that the rights could not be ‘divided and tailored’, so a State owed all, or none of them.

  • Further, the application of the ECHR was limited to its espace jurisdique – it is a regional treaty and must therefore be applied regionally.

This led to a number of arbitrary distinctions, since it was based on a restrictive reading of the treaty.

  • It refused to respond to the ‘vacuum’ arguments of Loizidou where one state had de facto and another de jure jurisdiction, leading to neither offering effective protection.

    • However, in that particular case, both states were parties to the ECHR, so it was merely a question of which state, rather than if a state was responsible.

    • Can leave a vacuum abroad, but the nature of a regional treaty.

  • Intervening case law took an inconstintently personal approach

Al-Skeini, though not explicitly overruling Bankovic, fundamentally changes extra-territorial application.

  • Jurisdiction was extended to whenever a ‘State through its agents exercises control and authority over an individual’; ‘what is decisive in such cases is the exercise of physical power and control over the person in question’.

  • In this sense, the ECHR rights could be divided and tailored in a personal approach, relating to the individual, and not (in essence) the territory.

  • Thus, in Al Saadoon (2015), soldiers in Iraq under personal jurisdiction of state and responsible for shootings.

Though fundamentally changing the test, retained the exceptional nature of such jurisdiction, the public powers requirement and that jurisdiction is primarily territorial.

  • It has been contended that Al-Hassan abandoned the public powers requirement, moving to an ever broader test.

Judge Bonello gave a separate, though effectively dissenting, opinion.

  • He criticised the fact-specific nature of the ‘patchwork’ case law and claimed himself unwilling to except an ‘a la carte’ respect for human rights – it is an important point to remember that general principles are drawn from fact-specific judgments.

  • He adopted a functional test, which ensures that human rights protection was not ‘causal and approximate depending on geographical coordinates’.

    • Test: ‘a State has jurisdiction for the purpose of Article 1 whenever the observance or the breach of any of these functions is within its authority and control.’

  • Arguably, this gives the most structured approach to what tends to be a fact-specific judgment.

  • Shenin: advocates a ‘facticity determines normativity approach’, but there must be some principled guidance for rule of law reasons.

  1. Extension of jurisdiction

Jurisdiction has been made progressively wider, extending beyond the initially territorial approach, making distinctions more arbitrary.

  • Milanovic challenges the arbitrary distinctions, with the logical...

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