Proportionality in the European Convention on Human Rights

Francesca De Vittor, Enzo Cannizzaro

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Citations (Scopus)


In the classical conception, international human rights law constitutes a set of rules which establish limits to sovereign powers. In this perspective, proportionality has the function of determining a reasonable balance between State’s and individuals’ interests. A different conception is gradually emerging which tends to regard human rights as part of the basic collective values of the international community. In this conception, proportionality is gradually assuming the function of determining the contents of human rights through a constant process of interests and values balancing. In this process, individuals’ interests are balanced not only with States’ interests but also with other individual and collective values of the international community. The paper focus on the process of transformation of proportionality, from a tool designed to operate in the State-individual relationship to one which applies to the overall process of values-balancing which underlies the dynamics of human rights in contemporary international law. This process is observed through a study of proportionality in the European Convention on human rights, probably the most integrated system of protection of human rights established thus far, which can serve as a model for the development of a more comprehensive system of protection.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Handbook on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • convenzione europea dei diritti dell'uomo
  • diritti umani
  • european convention on human rights
  • human rights
  • margin of appreciation
  • margine di apprezzamento
  • proportionality
  • proporzionalità


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