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The Yeoh Tiong Lay Centre for Politics, Philosophy and Law is delighted to invite Alain Zysset to lead the next workshop in the 2022/23 KJuris programme.



'To Defer or to Surrender? The European Court of Human Rights in Populist Times'



In this presentation, I offer an overview of the findings and preliminary conclusions of my forthcoming book (Saving and Strengthening 'Democratic Society': The European Court of Human Rights in Populist Times (Cambridge University Press, 2023). The book offers the first comprehensive account of the European Court of Human Rights’ actual and potential response to the wave of populism consolidating across Council of Europe states. It delivers this study through a combination of conceptual, empirical and legal analysis. Conceptually, the book diagnoses populism as distortion of democratic deliberation and representation. Empirically, the book incorporates recent findings from constitutional scholars and political scientists to show the structural erosion orchestrated by populist rulers in three Convention-relevant domains: the media, the administration of justice, and the electoral system. Legally, the book argues that the substantive and governing notion of ‘democratic society’ permeating the Court’s practice of countering external threats to democracy requires re-calibration in order to track internal threats to democracy, in particular the populist one.


Speaker Bio:

Alain is a Senior Lecturer in Public Law at the University of Glasgow and currently Senior Research Fellow at PluriCourts, University of Oslo. Alain is a legal and political theorist interested in the practices of constitutional law, human rights law and international law. His research specifically aims to reconstruct and evaluate these practices from the perspective of normative theory. In particular, Alain has examined the practice of the European Court of Human Rights, UN treaty bodies and the International Criminal Court. His research has been published in leading journals across the disciplines of constitutional law, international law, and legal and political theory including International Journal of Constitutional Law, Global Constitutionalism, Ratio Juris, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence and Criminal Law and Philosophy, among others. Alain is the author of The ECHR and Human Rights Theory (Routledge, 2016) and Saving and Strengthening 'Democratic Society': The European Court of Human Rights in Populist Times (Cambridge University Press, 2023).



Directed by Professor Lorenzo Zucca and Professor Massimo Renzo, King's Legal Philosophy Colloquium, KJuris, is a forum devoted to discussing works in progress by today's leading legal philosophers and theorists as well as by promising younger talents from around the world. While our focus is philosophical and jurisprudential, we construe these terms broadly and welcome all rigorous methodological approaches to legal theory.

At this event

Massimo Renzo

Professor of Politics, Philosophy & Law

Lorenzo Zucca

Professor of Law & Philosophy

Event details

SW1.17 (Ante Room), The Dickson Poon School of Law, Somerset House East Wing
Strand Campus
Strand, London, WC2R 2LS