Interpretation of Human Rights Provisions by the Strasbourg Court: Basic Principles and Doctrines

The article is devoted to the principles and doctrines of interpretation of human rights provisions developed by the Strasbourg Court and the level of their investigation in western and national legal science. It’s stated that according to the Law of Ukraine № 3477-IV «On implementation of judgments and application of the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights», 23.02.2006 (Art. 17) the courts of Ukraine apply the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and its Protocols and the case-law of the European Court of Human Right (the Strasbourg Court) as the source of law. The case-law of the Strasbourg Court constitutes the principles and doctrines of interpretation and application of the European Convention.
There is a lack of studies of such principles and doctrines in Ukrainian legal science that complicates their application in the national legal system. At the same time this issue is deeply explored in European theoretical and practical jurisprudence.
D. Harris, M. O’Boyle and Warbrick, the leading academics and practitioners at the Strasbourg Court, stress that considerable emphasis has been placed on the interpretation on the European Convention through a teleological approach, i. e. one that seeks to realize its «object and purpose». This has been indentifi ed in general terms as «the protection of individual human rights» and the maintenance and promotion of the «ideals and values of democratic society». Thus it must be given the dynamic or evaluative interpretation of the human rights provisions. In the case of Tyrer v UK the Strasbourg Court stated that the European Convention is «a living instrument… which must be interpreted in the light of present-day conditions». Among other principles are the «reliance upon European national law and international standards» (as any European consensus that exists has had a considerable impact upon the Strasbourg Court’s jurisprudence), the principle of the proportionality and a fair balance, effective interpretation, consistency of the interpretation of European Convention as a whole, limits resulting from the clear meaning of the text, the autonomous meaning of convention terms, recourse to travaux preparatoires (the preparatory work of the European Convention). Due to the jurisprudence of the Strasbourg Court the particular doctrines have been developed (the margin of appreciation doctrine, the forth instance doctrine, doctrine of positive obligations of the state, autonomous concepts doctrine), which determine the scope of State-parties obligations in relation to interpretation and application of rights and freedoms assured by the European Convention in the national legal system. All principles and doctrines of interpretation of
human rights developed by the European Court of Human Rights are interdependent and interrelated, thus their systematic application ensure a cumulative effect which lies in effi ciency of protection and implementation of human rights at the European and national level.