Seminar: Positive obligations revisited: new trends and challenges


Utrecht University’s Montaigne Centre for Rule of Law and Administration of Justice and the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM) organise a seminar to revisit and rethink the notion of positive obligations in ECHR law. The seminar will take place at Utrecht University’s University Hall at 29 September from 13.30 to 18.00.

The concept  of positive obligations forms an important aspect of the European Convention system, introduced in several landmark judgments, starting with the Belgian Linguistic case in 1968. Ever since, the European Court of Human Rights has 
formulated numerous positive obligations for States to guarantee effective  protection of Convention rights. Although the concept has been well covered in the literature, the Court’s continuous case law on positive obligations as well as new societal developments and challenges give reason to revisit the topic. More specifically, the seminar allows to dive into issues such as the history of positive obligations and its implications for the future, as well as conceptual and procedural trends and challenges related to positive obligations. In addition, attention will be paid to more substantive issues by looking at positive obligations in domestic and sexual violence cases and climate cases.


13.30                     Coffee/tea

14.00-14.10          Opening and welcoming words

14.10-14.30          Prof. Janneke Gerards (Utrecht University, the Netherlands)

                               Introduction to the Court’s reasoning in positive obligation cases 

14.30-14.45          Dr. Ed Bates (University of Leicester, the United Kingdom)

                               The history of positive obligations and its implications for the future

14.45-15.00          Prof. Philip Leach (Middlesex University London, the United Kingdom)

                               Challenges in the execution process of positive obligations

15.00-15.45          Discussion

15.45-16.00          Coffee/tea break

16.00-16.15          Prof. Catherine van de Heyning (University of Antwerp, Belgium)

                               New trends: positive obligations in domestic and sexual violence cases

16.15-16.30          Prof. Ingrid Leijten (Tilburg University, the Netherlands)

                               New trends: positive obligations in climate cases

16.30-17.15          Discussion

17.15-17.30          Wrap-up: concluding reflections by Prof. Antoine Buyse (Utrecht University, the Netherlands)               

17.30                     Drinks

It will be moderated by Montaigne researchers Janneke Gerards and Claire Loven, and Montaigne and SIM researcher Antoine Buyse will close the seminar. 

Start date and time
End date and time
Academiegebouw, Johanna Westerdijkkamer, Domplein 29, Utrecht
Entrance fee
Free of charge

To attend the seminar, please register here.

More information
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