RMT v United Kingdom [2014]: The European Court of Human Rights intimidated into timidity or merely consistent in its inconsistency?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article examines the European Court of Human Rights’ decision in RMT v United Kingdom1 on the compatibility of the industrial action balloting regulations and the restrictions on secondary industrial action with art.11 of the European Convention. This analysis is undertaken in the context of the Court’s inconsistent and contradictory analysis of relevant Strasbourg jurisprudence and established doctrines, including the “margin of appreciation” and “living instrument” principles. The Court’s decision that the complaint relating to the balloting provisions was inadmissible and that the total ban on secondary action in the United Kingdom was a balanced and proportionate response in order to satisfy a “pressing social need” is critically examined. The article notes that recent domestic judicial, political and media criticism of the Strasbourg Court have all had an arguable impact on the Strasbourg Court’s deferential decision making in selected cases involving the United Kingdom and concludes with a review of the significance of the decision in practice, and questions whether a future “test case” or litigation strategy is likely to succeed in challenging the legal restrictions on industrial action.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-285
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Human Rights Law Review
Volume3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

Keywords

  • Ballots
  • Freedom of assembly and association
  • Secondary action
  • Strikes
  • Trade unions

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