Written by Maastricht University, Rechtswetenschap

The Margin of Appreciation as the Bridge Between the Universal Presence of Human Rights and Their Concrete Implementation

Colloquium 13 October 2022, Maastricht University

Additional information

In the last two decades, the margin of appreciation has become a cornerstone of the Convention system, but it remains a contested and undertheorized concept. Stijn Smet argues that the European Court has never fully explained exactly what the margin of appreciation is or does. J.G. Merrills notes that the margin of appreciation is fraught with difficulty, and Steven Greer concludes that the most striking characteristic of its application remains its casuistic, uneven, and largely unpredictable nature. This ambiguity primarily concerns the question of when and why the Court grant states a ‘certain’, a ‘narrow’, or a ‘wide’ margin of appreciation. On the one hand, this elusive character enables the margin of appreciation to function as a ‘lubricant’ in the Convention system. On the other hand, this elusive character might undermine central legal principles such as legal certainty and the rule of law.

This colloquium will analyze the margin of appreciation as the bridge between the universal presence of human rights and their concrete implementation. It is organized by the Department of Foundations and Methods of Law in collaboration with the Maastricht Centre for Human Rights.

  • Andreas Føllesdal (Oslo) How to Improve on the Margin of Appreciation Doctrine – Perspectives from Democratic Theory
  • StijnEsra Demir-Gürsel (Humboldt-Universität, Berlin): The Assumption of Conflict Underlying the Democratic Necessity Analysis of the European Court of Human Rights
  • Monica Claes (Maastricht): Of common standards and national discretion: dealing with diversity in EU fundamental rights law
  • Sejla Imamovic (Maastricht): Margin of Appreciation in Protocol 15 ECHR: A Symbolic Change?
  • Roland Pierik (Maastricht) The role of the Margin of Appreciation in Controversial Cases Before the European Court: A Legal, Political, and Pragmatic Analysis
  • Chair: Antonia Watermann (Maastricht).

Additional information

13 October 2022
Maastricht Law Faculty

For more information, please contact Roland Pierik via r.pierik@maastrichtuniversity.nl