Article 53 and Minimum Protection by the European Court of Human Rights

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


It is often emphasised that the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR or
Convention) offers only minimum protection and states are allowed to offer additional guarantees. Indeed, Article 53 ECHR obliges the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) to respect such national guarantees if they go beyond the Convention. Similar provisions are usually included in human rights treaties as ‘priority clauses’,which mean that human rights bodies should respect more protective national laws.In such a reading, Article 53 could both add to and detract from the protection offered by the Convention, especially in cases where national and Convention rights clash. Based on an analysis of the Court’s case law, this paper shows that the Court does not rely on Article 53 in such conflicting rights cases, but rather prefers to use avoidance and balancing strategies. Instead, the Court uses Article 53 to reinforce national fundamental rights protection, thereby reducing the risk of harming the minimum level of protection provided by the Convention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451–480
Number of pages30
JournalEuropean Convention on Human Rights Law Review
Issue number4
Early online date3 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • minimum protection of fundamental rights
  • Article 53 echr
  • European Court of Human Rights
  • subsidiarity
  • most favourable treatment
  • priority
  • conflicts of rightS
  • balancing
  • reinforcement interpretation


Dive into the research topics of 'Article 53 and Minimum Protection by the European Court of Human Rights'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this