Research Articles

Strasbourg’s External Review after the EU’s Accession to the European Convention on Human Rights: A Subordination of the Luxembourg Court?



The contribution at hand highlights a special aspect of the European Union’s (EU) accession to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), namely the question whether the EU’s legal autonomy, which is vigilantly guarded by the Court of Justice of the EU (ECJ), might be endangered after subjecting the EU to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). At the outset, this article clarifies what the term “legal autonomy” means and how the EU’s legal autonomy may be jeopardised by the ECtHR’s external review after accession. After that, this article examines in general whether the interpretation of EU law by the ECtHR would infringe the autonomy of EU law and the ECJ’s exclusive jurisdiction, especially given the ECJ’s findings in Opinion 1/91. Secondly, it explores whether judgments by the ECtHR, holding that EU law violates the Convention, would be compatible with the EU’s legal autonomy, and whether there are considerable differences regarding primary and secondary law.


European UnionEuropean Convention on Human Rightsaccessionlegal autonomyexternal reviewprimary lawsecondary lawsubsidiarity principle
  • Year: 2012
  • Volume: 17 Issue: 1
  • Page/Article: 32-62
  • DOI: 10.1163/221125912X638044
  • Published on 1 Jan 2012
  • Peer Reviewed