School of Human Rights Research series ; v. 79.
The concept of positive obligations is familiar to various legal systems which seek to protect fundamental rights. This concept means that states are required to take active measures to protect fundamental rights, such as, for example, adopting a general legal framework to regulate same-sex relationships in order to ensure protection of the right to private life. In Europe, positive obligations have, in particular, been developed in the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) from the 1970s onwards. The ECtHR has explained that positive obligations are necessary to ensure that fundamental rights are of practical value and effective for everyone. The ECtHR is not the only supranational court in Europe that protects fundamental rights. The Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) also protects fundamental rights within the scope of EU law. So far, no concept of positive obligations has been developed by this Court, and the question has been asked whether such a development can indeed occur under EU law. After all, the EU is a rather special international organisation which has specific, mainly economic, interests to protect. It is also unclear whether the EU has competence to undertake regulatory action to actively protect fundamental rights Based on the insights obtained from the development of positive obligations by the ECtHR, this volume analyses whether and how positive obligations could be incorporated into EU law. The relevant provisions laid down in the EU Treaties and the EU Charter, the case-law of the ECJ and the specificities of the EU system are studied to find out where there is scope for recognition of the concept of positive obligations under EU law, and what limitations would apply to this.
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