Janneke Gerards (Utrecht University - Faculty of Law) has posted Margin of Appreciation and Incrementalism in the Case Law of the European Court of Human Rights (Human Rights Law Review, Volume 18, Issue 3, 1 September 2018, Pages 495–515) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Fundamental rights standards in Europe diverge as a result of differences in legal traditions, constitutional values and historical developments. The European Court of Human Rights therefore faces the challenge of having to balance the need for uniform and effective rights protection with respect for diversity. It is often thought that the famous margin of appreciation doctrine is the Court’s main tool in finding this balance. This article shows, however, that the Court’s application of the doctrine has made it into a rather empty rhetorical device. This appears to be different for the Court’s use of incrementalism, which increasingly appears to have replaced the margin of appreciation doctrine as an instrument to reconcile European protection of fundamental rights and national diversity. The article concludes by showing how the Court could further benefit from this strategy of incrementalism, while still maintaining a role for the margin of appreciation doctrine.