I. European Court of Human Rights Al-Skeini and Others v. United Kingdom (Application no. 55721/07) Judgement of July 7 2011
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press
States who sign the European Convention on Human Rights agree to ‘secure to everyone within their jurisdiction the rights and freedoms defined’ within the treaty (Article 1). For over fifty years the Strasbourg Bodies of the European Court and Commission of Human Rights have struggled to define the exact limitations of a State’s jurisdiction, particularly when such jurisdiction arises beyond a Contracting Party’s territorial borders. \ud Within the past decade the European Court of Human Rights has been asked to consider the limits of jurisdiction under Article 1 on a number of occasions. Previously the Strasbourg Bodies had maintained a flexible approach in finding jurisdiction, but in the Banković decision of December 2001 the Court gave a restrictive interpretation of jurisdiction, defining it as ‘primarily territorial’. Since then the Court has oscillated between the restrictive Banković approach and its more expansive early jurisprudence, leading the Law Lords of the UK to state that the European Court’s jurisprudence on this issue does “not speak with one voice”. \ud This piece critically comments upon July 2011 Al-Skeini and Others v United Kingdom decision where the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights had the opportunity to take a decisive stance on the understanding of jurisdiction under Article 1.