Chapter 12: The limits of the European Court of Human Rights vis--vis contestation and authoritarianism: concluding observations
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This concluding chapter offers an analysis of the themes emerging across the contributions based on their key findings. It first analyses the continuities and novelties in the case law of the European Court of Human Rights (the Court) vis-à-vis two coinciding challenges - growing criticism of the ECtHR and further entrenchment of authoritarian modes of governance. Second, it examines the Court’s sensitivity towards states’ concerns and interests, even when dealing with authoritarian laws, policies, and practices, as well as with the demands of those at the margins of liberal legal orders. Third, it discusses the dualities based on which the Court operates - the dualities between past promises and current conditions, and between the inter-related but different goals of the European Convention on Human Rights. The chapter makes a two-fold argument. First, the Court’s self-restraint is not limited to liberal states; to a certain extent, it is also at work vis-à-vis states with authoritarian tendencies. Second, the Court’s operations are not only structured by the current geopolitical considerations, but also by its historical roots and evolution.

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