Assessing the Impact of Vulnerability on European Public Order in the Case Law of the ECtHR

The paper seeks to assess the legal effects of ‘vulnerability’ in the case law of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and how vulnerability co-shapes European public order. By assigning vulnerable status to certain categories of individuals, such as migrants, detained persons and minors, the ECtHR has been able to increase the scope of positive obligations of contracting parties, to relax the application of admissibility criteria, or to determine whether the negative dimension of a right has been violated. This special status of the vulnerable applicant in the Convention system is in need of further analysis. By identifying the use of vulnerability in the Court’s Grand Chamber, the paper tracks the impact of vulnerability on the advancement of human rights protection in Europe and discusses how ultimately this can inform our understanding of a burgeoning European Public Order.