Right to Justice; Human Rights and the Sociology of Jurisdiction

Course description

This course provides an extensive introduction to the right to fair trial, including the relevant case law of the European Court of Human Rights. Special focus is given to the interpretation of the requirement for a tribunal to be independent and impartial as well as to the meaning of the reasonable time guarantee. The right to bring a case to court is also explored. The course observes the principles of the presumption of innocence and of equality of arms. The specific rights apply to those accused of criminal charges are examined together with comparable guarantees required in civil cases. The means of the additional protection required for children, other vulnerable parties as well as victims and witnesses is also discussed during the course. The curriculum also covers the positive obligations of the States which are necessary to guarantee to right to fair trial. Detailed explanations are given to the terms criminal, charge as well as civil rights and obligation, given that these expression have an autonomous Convention meaning which is often different from their national definitions. Further more, the topics of the course analyse the role of the judiciary in the field of Human Rights. It shows the modern judicial systems, the evolution of the court models with regard to the Human Rights development. The course deals with the issues of post-communist transition, the new European judicial culture, the national and international changes in the judicial field and its consequences to the enforcement of rights. The sociology of judiciary and judicial decision-making are also essential parts of the course, since the human rights enthusiasm of the judiciary is one of the most important conditions of a functioning Human Rights regime. During the course the system of judiciary is understood as a cultural subsystem which has strong connections to the individual freedom, rights and humanity. 



The guarantees incorporated in Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights have great significance in both criminal and civil proceedings, as they regularly apply long before the initiation of the judicial proceedings; therefore it is important for the students to be familiar with the complex body of rules. The course elucidates the subject to an extent that will allow participants to develop their own capacities as regards better structuring and reasoning of legal points in favour (or in defense) of  an alleged violation of the Convention both at national and international level. The introduction to case law makes students familiar with the language and style of the Court. A further aim of the aim of the course to form a comprehensive picture on the connections between judicial power and Human Rights. The students will create independently research problems, they have relevant net of concepts and they have evaluative relation to the practical problems of Human Rights. By this course the recognition of the importance of the enforcement and its institutional background will be strengthened. Students will respect the amelioration on the field of Human Rights. Students analyse and evaluate independently the anomalies of the legal practice.


  • Ben Emmerson - Andrew Asworth - Alison Macdonald: Human Rights and Criminal Justice. Sweet and Maxwell 2007.
  • Károly Bárd: Fairness in Criminal Proceedings. Aricle Six of the European Human Rights Convention in a Comparative Perspective. Hungarian Official Journal Publisher. Budapest 2008.
  • Attila Badó (Ed.): Comparative Analysis of Fair Trial in Light of Judicial Independence, Springer, 2014
  • Ramona Coman, Jean-Michel De Waele (eds.): Judicial Reforms in Central and Eastern European Countries, Vanden Broele, Baden-Baden, 2007. ISBN 9783832931674
  • John Bell: Judiciaries within Europe. A Comparative Review, Cambridge University Press, 2006


  • Dovydas Vitkauskas, Grigoriy Dikov: Protecting the right to a fair trial under the European Convention on Human Rights; Council of Europe Human Rights Handbook, 2012
  • Nuala Mole, Catharina Harby: The right to a fair trial - A guide to the implementation of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights Alec Stone Sweet: Governing With Judges. Constitutional Politics in Europe, OxfordUniversity Press, 2000, ISBN: 0198297300
  • Daniela Piana: The Power Knocks at the Court's Back Door. Two Waves of Postcommunist Judicial Reforms. Comparative Political Studies, Vol. 42. No. 6. (2009)
  • Zdenek Kühn: Worlds Apart: Western and Central European judicial culture at the onset of the European enlargement, The American Journal of Comparative Law, Vol. 531-567


Zoltán Fleck

Péter Hack