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Legislating for the Vulnerable? Special Duties under the European Convention on Human Rights

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2015
Author Zimmermann Nesa,
Project International Law and Domestic Law-Making Processes
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Schweizerische Zeitschrift für internationales und europäisches Recht
Volume (Issue) 2015(4)
Page(s) 539 - 562
Title of proceedings Schweizerische Zeitschrift für internationales und europäisches Recht


The last fifteen years have been characterised by an increased willingness of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) to take into account the specific needs of individuals in situations of particular vulnerability. Even though it is still emerging and surrounded by uncertainties, the ECtHR’s « vulnerability reasoning » has already had a considerable impact on the long-standing concept of positive obligations. Focusing on the particular aspect of legislative duties, the present contribution critically examines this recent evolution in the Court’s case law. It sheds light on the role vulnerability considerations have played in recent years in the development of special legislative duties, and, in some cases, in the Court’s increasing involvement in the implementation of its own judgments.