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Harris, O'Boyle, and Warbrick: Law of the European Convention on Human Rights

Harris, O'Boyle, and Warbrick: Law of the European Convention on Human Rights (4th edn)

David Harris, Michael O'Boyle, Ed Bates, and Carla Buckley
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date: 28 September 2021

p. 68414. Article 11: Freedom of assembly and associationlocked

p. 68414. Article 11: Freedom of assembly and associationlocked

  • David Harris, David HarrisEmeritus Professor in Residence, and Co-Director, Human Rights Law Centre, University of Nottingham
  • Michael O’Boyle, Michael O’BoyleDeputy Registrar of the European Court of Human Rights (2006–2015)
  • Ed BatesEd BatesAssociate Professor, School of Law, University of Leicester
  •  and Carla BuckleyCarla BuckleyResearch Fellow, Human Rights Law Centre, University of Nottingham

Abstract

Article 11 of the ECHR guarantees the two connected rights of freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association. The first includes the freedom to form and join trade unions. Both are essential to the effective working of democracy. Article 11 imposes negative obligations on states not to interfere with these rights unless the interference is prescribed by national law and is necessary in a democratic society to achieve at least one of the aims specified in the Article. Restrictions on striking by the armed forces, police, and administration of the state are permitted under Article 11(2). Positive obligations on states to take reasonable measures to protect the two freedoms have been read into Article 11, including to undertake effective investigations into complaints of interference by private persons. States have a positive obligation to secure the rights of individuals and trade unions against employers and to protect the individual against union power.

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