Tuesday 22 March 2016

Oxford Commentary on the ECHR

Oxford University Press has published a new Commentary on the European Convention on Human Rights, by William Schabas (Middlesex and Leiden). The book is part of the great series of Oxford Commentaries on International Law. The volume of more than 1300 pages covers the Convention and the additional substantive Protocols article by article. Each chapter reflects the text of the provision itself, in English and French, introductory comments, a drafting history of the provision, a substantive section with analysis and comments including case-law references, a part on reservations and declarations and a reading list with relevant literature, ranging from very old to very recent. The book is made accessible not only through a detailed table of contents, but also a table of cases and an extensive index, making it a handy work of reference. One only wonders in total amazement how professor Schabas has managed to write such an extensive commentary on his own next to all his other work and publications. Almost all other comparable ECHR commentaries and books have, for many years now, been written by entire teams of researchers rather than by a single person. A very remarkable feat indeed and a great treasure trove of information as well as being a good starting point for any research on the Convention. The only real downside is the very high price. This is the publisher's description of the book:

"The European Convention on Human Rights: A Commentary is the first complete article-by-article commentary on the ECHR and its Protocols in English. This book provides an entry point for every part of the Convention: the substance of the rights, the workings of the Court, and the enforcement of its judgments. A separate chapter is devoted to each distinct provision or article of the Convention as well as to Protocols 1, 4, 6, 7, 12, 13, and 16, which have not been incorporated in the Convention itself and remain applicable to present law.

Each chapter contains: a short introduction placing the provision within the context of international human rights law more generally; a review of the drafting history or preparatory work of the provision; a discussion of the interpretation of the text and the legal issues, with references to the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and the European Commission on Human Rights; and a selective bibliography on the provision.

Through a thorough review of the ECHR this commentary is both exhaustive and concise. It is an accessible resource that is ideal for lawyers, students, journalists, and others with an interest in the world's most successful human rights regime."