The concept of the margin of appreciation has been most developed by the European Court of Human Rights. It is also present in the jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the UN Human Rights Committee, although it is understudied and less commonly employed by these tribunals. This introductory chapter discusses the origins of the margin of appreciation and how the concept operates within these three systems of international human rights protection. It also provides a summary of the book and explores its methodology. The approach taken in the book involves both theoretical discussion and the exposition of case law. The book seeks to provide a conceptual analysis of the margin of appreciation and a justification for its use, whilst providing an accurate account of relevant case law. Finally, the chapter explores whether the margin of appreciation can properly be referred to as a “doctrine”.
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