Common Law Tort of Negligence as a Tool for Deconstructing Positive Obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights

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This article examines how the common law tort of negligence as developed in the United Kingdom can provide a helpful guidance for deconstructing and elucidating some of the disparate analytical issues that are subsumed under the umbrella of positive obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Both frameworks, common law and ECHR, aim to delimit the circumstances where responsibility for omissions can be found and have similar conceptual basis of protection in that they protect fundamental interests. However, in the context of common law certain analytical elements have been more thoroughly considered and more clearly articulated. These elements are: the distinction between a duty and a breach of duty; the level of foreseeability of harm; the proximity between the state and the person who has suffered harm because of an alleged omission; the reasonableness of imposing a duty; and the causation between the harm and the alleged omission. Two main arguments emerge from the juxtaposition of the ECHR analysis against the common law. First, by failing to explicitly articulate and distinguish certain analytical elements, the ECHR positive obligation judgments offer little general guidance as to the limits of responsibility in a more principled fashion. Second, the analytical inquiry applied when adjudicating positive obligations is in tension with the idea of the correlativity between rights and obligations.


Enheter & grupper

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Juridik


  • Mänskliga rättigheter
Sidor (från-till)632-655
Antal sidor24
TidskriftInternational Journal of Human Rights
Utgåva nummer5
Tidigt onlinedatum2019 nov 1
StatusPublished - 2020
Peer review utfördJa

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