Developing a vulnerability analysis in immigration cases: bringing migrants to the core of the European Court of Human Rights' assessments

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I posit that the European Court of Human Rights’ construction of migrants’ rights and experiences in host states produce narratives that are detached from the realities and complexities of global migration. I attribute this disconnection to the Court’s affirmation of the State’s right to control immigration as the overarching principle in immigration cases. This immigration control paradigm frustrates inquiries into the exercise of the government immigration power. Importantly, the Court’s accounts of migrants’ relationships with the host state, its institutions and its community are not evidence-based. Rather they rest on (unverified) assumptions that pervade national policy discourse and making in the field of immigration. Yet these accounts weigh significantly on the Court’s reasoning in immigration cases.
As a challenge to this immigration control paradigm, I investigate the deployment of a vulnerability analysis in the European Court of Human Rights’ case law. I posit that a vulnerability analysis can prompt an inquiry into migrants’ social, economic and institutional relationships as well as greater scrutiny into the exercise of the Government immigration power. I contend that the development of a vulnerability analysis can have a transformative effect on the role of the Court and on the ECHR system as a whole for the benefit of all ECHR subjects, including migrants.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
Publication statusUnpublished - Jun 2016
EventInternational Society of Public Law, Borders, Otherness & Public Law: Borders, Otherness and the Law - Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany
Duration: 17 Jun 201619 Jun 2016


ConferenceInternational Society of Public Law, Borders, Otherness & Public Law


  • vulnerability analysis
  • immigrant cases
  • European Court of Human Rights

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