Justification for decisions and legitimacy of the criminal justice system.

This paper analyzes the contribution of the European Court of Human Rights to the concept and practical function of two types of “reasoned decisions” – pre-trial measures and rulings – in the criminal justice system.
As regards to pre-trial measures, the ECHR underlines the need for coercion to be contained within what is strictly necessary for the prosecution of crimes. Grounds for the decision are thus oriented to demonstrate the proportionality of the intervention, showing that the State does not sacrifice the fundamental rights of citizens in vain.
As for the reasoning of the rulings, the ECHR adopts a more flexible approach. Nevertheless, arguments that are potentially decisive for the outcome of the dispute must be explicitly reflected in the pronouncement. Grounds for the judgement, therefore, are the projection of the adversarial principle on the decision, in order to demonstrate that parties’ allegations and proofs have been properly considered by the judge.