The ECHR and the protection of irregular migrants in the social sphere

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For more than a decade, the Council of Europe has expressed deep concern over irregular migrants’ poor access to basic social rights. With this mind, I consider the extent to which the European Convention on Human Rights can contribute to protect irregular migrants in the social sphere. To this end, I consider the role of international supervisory bodies in social rights adjudication and discuss the suitability of international adjudication as a means to uphold irregular migrants’ social rights. Having reached the conclusion that international adjudication can help protect irregular migrants’ social rights, I examine the ‘social dimension’ of the European Convention on Human Rights and the significance that the European Court of Human Rights attaches to immigration status. I posit that the importance that the Court attaches to resource and immigration policy considerations in N v. United Kingdom significantly constrains the ability of the European Convention on Human Rights to afford irregular migrants protection in the social sphere.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-67
Number of pages29
JournalInternational Journal on Minority and Group Rights
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015


  • ECHR
  • irregular migrants
  • social sphere
  • protection
  • Council of Europe
  • basic social rights

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