Bodily Integrity, Personal Autonomy, Private Life: ECHR Standards

Course Description: 

The course explores the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights under Articles 2, 3 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Apart from the substantive aspects of the right to life guaranteed in Article 2 (intentional/unintentional killing or use of firearms, or the ‘right to die’), it also covers the procedural guarantees developed in the case-law. Naturally, classes touch upon the abolishment of death penalty and the related protocols. From the rich jurisprudence under the Article 3 (prohibition of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment) the course provides an overview of cases related to prison conditions, interrogation techniques, extradition and issues not necessarily associated with ill-treatment. Despite the clear wording of Article 8, the European Court of Human Rights developed an immense and diverse jurisprudence encompassing several aspects of these rights that seemingly go beyond the scope of Article 8 and touch upon more recently surfaced issues, such as environmental protection, secret surveillance and data protection, or same-sex families.


Learning Outcomes: 
  • Ability to benefit from a substantial knowledge of human rights law and protection mechanisms on the supranational level.
  • Ability to benefit from a substantial understanding of the institutional and procedural framework of human rights enforcement.
  • Ability to derive general principles from cases.
  • Ability to use legal reasoning – advanced level.
  • Ability to use cases and precedents in legal reasoning – advanced level.
  • Ability to think critically at an advanced level.

Final evaluation is based on in-class participation and individual oral assignments (15%), group exercises (25%), written assignments (30%) and take-home final paper based on individual research (30%).


The course is open for students who have passed the Introduction to the Law and Practice of the European Court of Human Rights or  Human Rights and the Rule of Law in the Council of Europe or the pretest.