Margin of appreciation, moral relativism and the universality of human rights

Does the margin of appreciation doctrine of the European Court of Human Rights have the potential to damage the Court’s authority and undermine its progress? Or on the contrary, is the life-saving jacket that keeps the Court afloat? This paper proposes a discussion on the legitimacy of the Court as it looks at the well-established principle of margin of appreciation through the lenses of moral relativism and “consensus“ as it speaks to the relationship between the majority rule and the protection of minority rights in a democratic society. A parallel between the Court's approach to “minority” States and a State's approach to minority groups is drawn to underline the complexities of the point in question and to offer a fresh review of the margin of appreciation doctrine.