Activists and Lawyers in the ECtHR: The Struggle for Gay Rights

2015-09-30T14:18:49Z (GMT) by Loveday C. Hodson
The ECtHR has emerged as a central site upon which important social and political struggles are played out in Europe. Activism in litigation before it though has largely been overlooked; the Court is an institution typically studied through a legalistic lens. While academics such as Upendra Baxi2 and Neil Stammers3 have long insisted that rights have their genesis in social movements rather than formal legal documents, only recently have writers such as Dembour4 began to pay special attention to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) as a site upon which social activists conduct their struggles. In this chapter, I suggest that whilst litigation before the Court is s till heavily individualistic and consequently the role that NGOs play in shaping it should not be exaggerated, there are notable spaces or niches in it in which NGOs are prominent in claiming rights. In particular, this study examines how lawyers and activists have used litigation before the ECtHR as a tool through which to mobilise on behalf of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi - sexual and transgender) minorities. It also highlights the transformative role of NGOs in framing and shaping rights claims in circumstances where their very nature is contested. [First paragraph]

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