Tara C. Stever


This Note argues that the European Community ("EC") should amend the European Community Treaty to provide authority for EC accession to the European Court of Human Rights ("ECHR") because the belief in and protection of human rights must be at the core of a thriving constitutional legal system. As the EC continues to grow geographically, its legal competences must also grow to deal with the challenges of building a singular, unified Europe from traditionally autonomous European states and EC institutions. Part I of this Note explains the institutions of the EC, examines the principles and objectives of the ECHR and its present application in the EC, and discusses current human rights protection in the EC. Part II considers the objectives of a unified Europe, the conflicting opinions regarding EC accession to the ECHR, and the present lack of codification of human rights legislation in the EC. Part III argues that the necessity of enumerated, uniformly enforceable human rights protections at the EC level overrides claims that the EC should not extend its competences to include accession to the ECHR. This Note concludes that the EC should amend the European Community Treaty to include a provision for accession to the ECHR.