European Public Order in Times of Change: View from Strasbourg

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has used European Public Order (EPO) in over 100 judgments. This number shows that its deployment is not a coincidence and the Court takes EPO seriously. At the same time, in none of these judgments the Court has explained what EPO actually means and how it can be conceptualised. The Court’s references to EPO are often inconsistent and highlight various aspects of its meaning. If the ECtHR has an ambition to shape and regulate EPO it needs to clarify its understanding of this complex abstract notion. This presentation will analyse 17 interviews with the judges of the ECtHR. The judges were asked what is EPO and what their role is in shaping this order. The judges also commented on whether EPO changes over time and how these changes are reflected in the ECtHR judgments. The most illustrative answers will be discussed and placed in the context of the ECtHR’s case law.