The purpose of the present article is threefold. First, my ambition is to improve the analytical framework that is used to assess the legitimacy of the European Court of Human Rights. The Court’s authority can neither be established nor refuted by a single master-argument. Instead, what we need is a careful balancing exercise and this piece aims to set out the main elements of the justificatory equation. Second, using this framework, I intend to put forward the outline of a coherent critique of the European human rights regime. Third, I hope that my article is able to shed light on why it is natural to expect more vocal criticism from the United Kingdom than from most other member states of the Council of Europe.