Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Law, Other social sciences

Publication Details

School of Languages, Law and Social Sciences, Technological University Dublin, 2017.


In order to understand the complexity and peculiarity of human rights, it is important to provide a proper definition of human rights, based on the Irish concept.

Human Rights is defined […] as: the rights, liberties and freedoms conferred on, or guaranteed to persons: (a) by the Constitution, and (b) by any agreement, treaty or convention to which the State is a party […] the definition of human rights is restricted as regards any agreement, treaty or convention to which the State is a party by including only those (or a provision thereof) which has been given the force of law in the State. This restriction is required because of the dualistic principle relating to the effect in Irish law of international agreements; such agreements to which the State is a party may not necessarily be part of the law of the State and consequently may not be relied on in cases before the Irish Courts.[1]

Based on the above definition, it is significant to stress that the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) makes decisions and sentences, but certainly does not examine and determine the national/Irish law. The main function of this institution is to supervise and command the obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).[2] Therefore, the Court does not have the appeal function, as it has no power to cancel or abolish decision made by the local Courts of the particular States.

The main purpose of this essay is to analyse and determine the approach the ECtHR takes to core human rights issues and to assess its role in deferring to the judgment of States under the ECHR. The author takes into account the Irish justice system and some other European Union jurisdictions. The essay comprises a brief situational analysis, introductory remarks, and an interpretation of results with conclusion. A list of sources consulted for this essay can be found at the end.

In Section 2 (The Role and Approach of the European Court of Human Rights in the Protection of Core Human Rights), the author identifies the particular and crucial role of the Court in judicial functions of the Court. In addition, this section examines different approaches taken by the ECtHR in order to protect basic human rights.

Section 3 concerns the European Court’s jurisdiction and action in deferring to the judgment of States under the ECHR. The author presents examples of situations where the Court failed to accomplish the relevant standards that are obligatory under the ECHR.

In the interpretation of results and conclusion section, the author presents findings from the topic and takes the opportunity to assess the future role of the ECtHR in improving the protection of human rights.

[1] H. Murdoch, Murdoch’s Dictionary of Irish Law, Dublin 2004, p. 534-535; Human Rights Commission Act, 2000, [online:] [], accessed on the 5.01.2017.

[2] European Convention on Human Rights, [online:] [], accessed on the 06.01.2017.