Political ethics and its interference with the right to privacy

A common observation can be made in contemporary democracies: public institutions are experiencing a decay of trust, which is affecting the concerns of the population about politicians. In order to deal with this phenomenon, many governments have adopted a body of “political ethics rules” which reflects an increased will to put politicians under scrutiny from the way they exercise their mandates to their personal behavior. It has been developed in the United States (and then in the United Kingdom) since the late 1960s and have gradually reached continental Europe since the beginning of the 21st century. The progressive transformation of these ethics rules into binding legal rules raises many questions. One of these is the interference with the right to privacy of members of parliament. In this paper, the tight balance to reach between the extension of the transparency requirement and the right to privacy will be addressed in the light of national and international case law.