Origins and Methodology
This chapter provides the context for the book by charting the institutional and political pressures facing the system of protection under the European Convention on Human Rights, and their relevance to the role of national parliaments. These pressures are summarized as ‘backlog’ (the accumulation of applications before the European Court of Human Rights and the large number of its judgments that remain unimplemented) and ‘backlash’ (attacks on the legitimacy and authority of the Court, especially in the UK). The chapter argues that these interrelated challenges create a dual imperative—on parliaments, among other state actors—to enhance both the effectiveness and perceived legitimacy of the Convention system. The chapter also outlines the qualitative methodology used in the research for the book, which involved ninety-two semi-structured interviews, principally in five states (Ukraine, Romania, the UK, the Netherlands, and Germany) and in Council of Europe institutions.
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