Tuesday 19 August 2014

New Edition of ECHR Handbook Harris Warbrick and O'Boyle

As announced last week in a guest post, the newest, third edition of the classic Harris, O'Boyle and Warbrick, Law of the European Convention of Human Rights has been published with OUP by Harris, O'Boyle, Bates, and Buckley. It is always an enormous endeavor to update books covering such large fields of law, with a constantly increasing flow of new jurisprudence. This is reflected in the faster need to update. Between the original edition of the book (1995) and the second (2009), the time span was much longer than between the second and current third edition. The new edition slightly exceeds 1000 pages, making its handy and precise index all the more crucial as well as an alphabetical list of cited case-law with page references at the start of the book. The only small downside is that the authors have chosen in the references to only add application numbers to the Court's decisions and not to the judgments, but for most cases this should not be too much of a problem to retrieve them. New case-law is taken into account up to the end of October 2013. The preface is a succinct and very useful short update of the key changes in the ECHR system since the last edition and on the discussions surrounding the Court. 

The book is divided into three parts: (I) the Convention 'in context', (II) the 'enforcement machinery' and (III) the 'rights guaranteed'. The first part is a very good introduction into the backgrounds and current status of the Convention system, making it also useful for historians and political scientists. The other two are of a more technical, yet well-structured nature, aimed more at legal researchers and lawyers. All key topical issues (EU accession, pilot judgments, reform Protocols 15 and 16) are included. Although the Convention itself is not printed in full, its provisions are highlighted in grey all over the book, as well as key case-law excerpts - for the quick and impatient browser these provide a good first impression before diving into the minutiae which will be of more interest to those seeking information on a specific issue. It is a great achievement that in times of increasing pressure in academia to produce articles in journals, experts still commit time and effort to compile such handbook overviews, which are among the most useful of all academic work for both students and researchers. 

Congratulations to all authors with this new edition of a classic!