Res Interpretata: Legal Effect of the European Court of Human Rights’ Judgments for other States Than Those Which Were Party to the Proceedings
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States that were not a party to proceedings in a case before the European Court of Human Rights should take into account judgments and decisions issued with respect to third states. Indeed, judgments and decisions establishing a new legal principle or standard should have a persuasive authority for other states. They should be an incentive for state parties to change their law or practices in order to avoid similar issues being brought against them. Such judgments should have a res interpretata effect, a notion to be distinguished from the typical res judicata effect of judgments. As such, res interpretata may become one of the most important tools reinforcing the principle of subsidiarity underlying the entire European Convention and thereby also limit the number of applications brought to the European Court. The res interpretata effect may therefore be a good instrument of constant fine-tuning of third states’ legal system.