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Human rights evolve continuously. Sometimes entirely new rights spring up, for example in response to technological developments. Most ‘new’ human rights, however, are refinements of existing rights, which somehow have come to be regarded as deserving protection in their own right. An intriguing question is when such new (aspects of) rights deserve to be formally recognised or even codified in international treaties or national constitutions. In these comments I will try to answer this question for the right that Simon Rice suggests should be recognised: the right of access to law. I will focus on the added value of recognising such a right, rather than dealing with its theoretical foundations.
The European Convention on Human Rights is one of the world's most important and influential human rights documents. It owes its value mainly to the European Court of Human Rights, which applies the Convention rights in individual cases. This book offers a clear insight into the concepts and principles that are key to understanding the European Convention and the Court's case-law. It explains how the Court generally approaches the many cases brought before it and which tools help it to decide on these cases, illustrated by numerous examples taken from the Court's judgements. Core issues discussed are the types of Convention rights (such as absolute rights); the structure of the Court's Convention rights review; principles and methods of interpretation (such as common ground interpretation and the use of precedent); positive and negative obligations; vertical and horizontal effect; the margin of appreciation doctrine; and requirements for the restriction of Convention rights.