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Conflicts between Fundamental Rights in Europe - A study of the CJEU and the ECtHR approach to conflicts between fundamental rights in the light of Google Spain

Carlberg, Mikaela LU (2015) JURM02 20151
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Sammanfattning
Grundläggande mänskliga rättigheter är ett växande rättsområde, vilket illustreras av den ökande andelen mål med grund i mänskliga rättigheter vid Europeiska domstolar. Denna utveckling, i kombination med att rättighetskatalogen utvidgas och att de befintliga rättigheterna får en mer extensiv tolkning innebär oundvikligen att även mål där två mänskliga rättigheter ställs emot varandra ökar. Denna företeelse har studerats mycket lite, varför det är ett intressant rättsområde att undersöka. I fall där två mänskliga rättigheter vilka bägge skyddas av rättsordningen hamnar i konflikt med varandra ställs domsväsendet inför ett juridiskt dilemma. Vilken, om någon, av rättigheterna bör ges företräde?
EU-domstolen och... (More)
Sammanfattning
Grundläggande mänskliga rättigheter är ett växande rättsområde, vilket illustreras av den ökande andelen mål med grund i mänskliga rättigheter vid Europeiska domstolar. Denna utveckling, i kombination med att rättighetskatalogen utvidgas och att de befintliga rättigheterna får en mer extensiv tolkning innebär oundvikligen att även mål där två mänskliga rättigheter ställs emot varandra ökar. Denna företeelse har studerats mycket lite, varför det är ett intressant rättsområde att undersöka. I fall där två mänskliga rättigheter vilka bägge skyddas av rättsordningen hamnar i konflikt med varandra ställs domsväsendet inför ett juridiskt dilemma. Vilken, om någon, av rättigheterna bör ges företräde?
EU-domstolen och Europa-domstolen är de primära domstolarna vad gäller mänskliga rättigheter i Europa. Denna uppsats studerar förhållningssättet till konflikter mellan mänskliga rättigheter hos respektive domstol med utgångspunkt i rättspraxis och i synnerhet utifrån Google Spain, EU-domstolens avgörande från maj 2014. EU-domstolens förhållningssätt till mänskliga rättigheter i allmänhet och konflikter mellan dessa regleras av de horisontella bestämmelserna i EU-stadgan. Under vilka omständigheter en mänsklig rättighet får inskränkas regleras i Artikel 52(1)Stadgan. Innan ikraftträdandet av EU-stadgan använde EU-domstolen sig av en ’uppenbar oriktighets-doktrin’ innebärande att en bedömning gjordes utifrån huruvida en EU-akt utgjorde en uppenbar oriktighet eller maktmissbruk. Domstolen har i senare praxis inkonsekvent tillämpat en bedömning av den aktuella begränsningens tillåtlighet baserat på Artikel 52(1) och angivit att vid mostående intressen skall en avvägning göras till skydd för mänskliga rättigheter. Europadomstolens förhållningssätt vad gäller konflikter mellan mänskliga rättigheter är baserad på en individuell bedömning, och flera olika metoder kan därför urskönjas. Europadomstolens praxis illustrerar flertalet förhållningssätt, såsom nödvändighetsrekvisitet i det andra stycket i artiklar 8-11, ’margin of appreciation’-doktrinen samt avvägning. Vad gäller specifikt konflikter mellan rätten till privatliv och yttrandefriheten så har flertalet principer framtagits genom praxis för att konkretisera bedömningen. Den andra delen av uppsatsen syftar till att undersöka huruvida EU-domstolens tidigare förhållningssätt speglas i Google Spain samt huruvida det finns anledning att anta att skillnader hade förelegat om målet avgjorts i Europadomstolen. Google Spain rör rätten att dölja lagligt publicerat personlig information från en indexerad lista på en sökmotor, i det här fallet Google. EU-domstolen har tidigare visat att rätten till skydd av personlig data innehar ett starkt skydd inom EU-rätten, varför målet är i enlighet med Domstolens tidigare förhållningssätt. Domstolen applicerar Artikel 52(1) EU-Stadgan vid bedömningen av restriktionen av yttrandefriheten. Det finns anledning att anta att avgörandet fått ett annat utslag i Europadomstolen då principer utvecklade genom Europadomstolens praxis innebär konkreta riktlinjer för avvägningsbedömningen vid en konflikt mellan rätten till privatliv och yttrandefrihet, exempelvis sanktionens inverkan, personens roll i samhället och informationens natur. Dessutom argumenteras för att målet fått en annorlunda utgång beroende på Europadomstolens kategorisering av rätten till privatliv och yttrandefriheten som av lika juridiskt värde.
Vad gäller Google Spain och avvägningen mellan rätten till privatliv och yttrandefriheten så kan det argumenteras för att målet innebär en mycket långtgående tolkning av rätten till privatliv, på bekostnad av yttrandefriheten. Detta kan i sin tur leda till att tolkningen av mänskliga rättigheter under EKMR och EU-Stadgan inte längre kan anses vara liktydig, vilket innebär ett hot mot rättssäkerheten och förutsägbarheten för europeiska mänskliga rättigheter. Vidare aktualiserar domen i Google Spain frågor angående rättsläget för EU:s medlemstater vilka är anslutna till EKMR om förhållandet mellan de två domstolarna ifrågasätts. Kvar att besvara är även frågan huruvida den praktiska implementeringen av rätten att bli bortglömd innebär ett effektivt skydd för rätten till privatliv eller endast att privata företag är förpliktade att utföra den ömtåliga uppgiften att göra en avvägning mellan två av våra mest grundläggande mänskliga rättigheter. (Less)
Abstract
Summary
Fundamental rights are an expanding area of law, which is demonstrated by the increasing number of cases in European courts drawing upon fundamental rights provisions. This development in combination with the expanding rights catalogue and a more extensive interpretation given to existing rights inevitably also leads to an increase in conflicts between fundamental rights. This issue has however only been modestly studied until very recently, which makes it an interesting topic to research. In a scenario of two fundamental rights protected by the European legal order in conflict, the judiciary is faced with a dilemma as to how to solve the conflict. Which of the rights, if any, should be prioritized?

The CJEU and the ECtHR are... (More)
Summary
Fundamental rights are an expanding area of law, which is demonstrated by the increasing number of cases in European courts drawing upon fundamental rights provisions. This development in combination with the expanding rights catalogue and a more extensive interpretation given to existing rights inevitably also leads to an increase in conflicts between fundamental rights. This issue has however only been modestly studied until very recently, which makes it an interesting topic to research. In a scenario of two fundamental rights protected by the European legal order in conflict, the judiciary is faced with a dilemma as to how to solve the conflict. Which of the rights, if any, should be prioritized?

The CJEU and the ECtHR are the two primary Fundamental Rights adjudicators in Europe. This thesis examines the approach of the two courts as to conflicts between fundamental rights with emphasis on the recent CJEU judgment in Google Spain from May 2014. The CJEU approach is based on the horizontal clauses in the EU Charter and foremost the general limitation clause. Prior to the Charter, the manifest test was applied by the Court, essentially examining whether a measure of EU law contains a manifest error or misuse of power. Article 52(1) of the Charter is now applied by the Court when faced with conflicts between fundamental rights. The case-law of the Court point to an inconsistent use of the analytical stages of Article 52(1), reiterating that the provision holds that limitations of the rights enshrined in the Charter may be made to protect the rights and freedoms of others. The CJEU have moreover held that a fair balance must be struck between the rights or interests in question. The ECtHR approach on conflicts between fundamental rights is determined by the case at hand, and thus several methods are applied. The jurisprudence of the ECtHR include the use of the necessity test as included in the second paragraph of Articles 8-11 of the ECHR, the margin of appreciation doctrine and the use of balancing. With regards to the special nature of the inherent conflict between the right to privacy and the right to freedom of expression, several principles have been established through case-law.
The second section of the thesis aim to examine whether the CJEU approach is reflected in Google Spain and whether there is reason to believe that the outcome would be different if Google Spain was brought before the ECtHR. Google Spain concerns the right to be forgotten by de-listing search results containing personal information on a search engine, in this case Google. The CJEU has previously stressed the importance of data protection within the area of EU law, and this judgment is in line with the previous position of the Court. The Court applies the general limitation clause to the conflict between the right to data protection and the freedom of expression, however it determines the right to data protection to trump the freedom of expression. There is reason to believe that the case would have a different outcome if brought before the ECtHR based on the principles applied to conflicts between the right to private life and the right to freedom of expression, e.g. the severity of the sanction imposed, the role played by the individual in society and the nature of the information. Moreover, it can be argued that the outcome would have been different as the ECtHR acknowledge the rights to have equal value. Regarding Google Spain and whether or not a fair balance was struck between the right to private life and the right to freedom of expression, the judgment constitute an extensive interpretation of the right to privacy at the expense of the freedom of expression. This is furthermore a development that may lead to diverging interpretations of the rights under the ECHR and the Charter, which will affect the transparency and foreseeability of fundamental rights in Europe. Moreover, the judgments raises questions on the legal position of EU Member States as Contracting Parties to the ECHR if the relationship between the Courts is questioned or stressed based on diverging interpretations. Yet to be discovered is also whether the practical implementation of the right to be forgotten will entail an effective protection or simply a search engine obliged to practice the delicate act of balancing two of our most essential fundamental rights. (Less)
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author
Carlberg, Mikaela LU
supervisor
organization
course
JURM02 20151
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
balancing fundamental rights., ECtHR, the right to be forgotten, CJEU, data protection, Conflicts between fundamental rights, EU Law
language
English
id
7756679
date added to LUP
2015-10-06 15:22:31
date last changed
2015-10-06 15:22:31
@misc{7756679,
  abstract     = {Summary
Fundamental rights are an expanding area of law, which is demonstrated by the increasing number of cases in European courts drawing upon fundamental rights provisions. This development in combination with the expanding rights catalogue and a more extensive interpretation given to existing rights inevitably also leads to an increase in conflicts between fundamental rights. This issue has however only been modestly studied until very recently, which makes it an interesting topic to research. In a scenario of two fundamental rights protected by the European legal order in conflict, the judiciary is faced with a dilemma as to how to solve the conflict. Which of the rights, if any, should be prioritized?

The CJEU and the ECtHR are the two primary Fundamental Rights adjudicators in Europe. This thesis examines the approach of the two courts as to conflicts between fundamental rights with emphasis on the recent CJEU judgment in Google Spain from May 2014. The CJEU approach is based on the horizontal clauses in the EU Charter and foremost the general limitation clause. Prior to the Charter, the manifest test was applied by the Court, essentially examining whether a measure of EU law contains a manifest error or misuse of power. Article 52(1) of the Charter is now applied by the Court when faced with conflicts between fundamental rights. The case-law of the Court point to an inconsistent use of the analytical stages of Article 52(1), reiterating that the provision holds that limitations of the rights enshrined in the Charter may be made to protect the rights and freedoms of others. The CJEU have moreover held that a fair balance must be struck between the rights or interests in question. The ECtHR approach on conflicts between fundamental rights is determined by the case at hand, and thus several methods are applied. The jurisprudence of the ECtHR include the use of the necessity test as included in the second paragraph of Articles 8-11 of the ECHR, the margin of appreciation doctrine and the use of balancing. With regards to the special nature of the inherent conflict between the right to privacy and the right to freedom of expression, several principles have been established through case-law. 
The second section of the thesis aim to examine whether the CJEU approach is reflected in Google Spain and whether there is reason to believe that the outcome would be different if Google Spain was brought before the ECtHR. Google Spain concerns the right to be forgotten by de-listing search results containing personal information on a search engine, in this case Google. The CJEU has previously stressed the importance of data protection within the area of EU law, and this judgment is in line with the previous position of the Court. The Court applies the general limitation clause to the conflict between the right to data protection and the freedom of expression, however it determines the right to data protection to trump the freedom of expression. There is reason to believe that the case would have a different outcome if brought before the ECtHR based on the principles applied to conflicts between the right to private life and the right to freedom of expression, e.g. the severity of the sanction imposed, the role played by the individual in society and the nature of the information. Moreover, it can be argued that the outcome would have been different as the ECtHR acknowledge the rights to have equal value. Regarding Google Spain and whether or not a fair balance was struck between the right to private life and the right to freedom of expression, the judgment constitute an extensive interpretation of the right to privacy at the expense of the freedom of expression. This is furthermore a development that may lead to diverging interpretations of the rights under the ECHR and the Charter, which will affect the transparency and foreseeability of fundamental rights in Europe. Moreover, the judgments raises questions on the legal position of EU Member States as Contracting Parties to the ECHR if the relationship between the Courts is questioned or stressed based on diverging interpretations. Yet to be discovered is also whether the practical implementation of the right to be forgotten will entail an effective protection or simply a search engine obliged to practice the delicate act of balancing two of our most essential fundamental rights.},
  author       = {Carlberg, Mikaela},
  keyword      = {balancing fundamental rights.,ECtHR,the right to be forgotten,CJEU,data protection,Conflicts between fundamental rights,EU Law},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Conflicts between Fundamental Rights in Europe - A study of the CJEU and the ECtHR approach to conflicts between fundamental rights in the light of Google Spain},
  year         = {2015},
}