The Dynamics of Interpretation and Context
Chapter 7: The multi-layered character of EU human rights law
This chapter discusses the multi-layered character of EU human rights law and the impact of protecting human rights in multi-layered legal and governance constructions on the law. The relevant interpretative practices appear in every domain of the jurisprudence and involve relying on actors located outside the EU framework to ensure that human rights are observed in the EU. The multi-layered character of EU human rights law, as we discussed earlier in this book, is inseparable from its 'relational' character and from its limitations found in the existence of parallel constitutional authorities in the European legal space. When the competing constitutional authority is located externally and at a different layer, at the national or at the international level, its relevance for the law and its interpretative consequences lend EU human rights law a multi-layered character. As discussed throughout this book, the multi-layered character of EU human rights law is evidenced in interpretative practices which take into account the demands arising from other locations of constitutional authority and which demonstrate due deference, when appropriate, to the autonomy and discretion of actors at those locations. Most commonly, the EU Court in interpreting and applying human rights defers to national courts and national legal and constitutional orders.
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