Enrico Diciotti

Vulnerability in the Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights

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The concept of vulnerability appears to be relevant in many judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. Firstly, I distinguish three possible meanings of the words «vulnerable» and «vulnerability»; secondly, I examine both the meaning of those words in the Court's discourse and the Court's reasonings where it is relevant the fact that a person or group is (in the opinion of the Court) vulnerable. Such an examination leads to the following conclusions: in the Court's discourse, those words have a broad and indeterminate meaning; the fact that a person or group is vulnerable plays a role in different types of reasonings and in the application of several rules of the European Convention on Human Rights; the degree of relevance of that fact is generally unclear in those reasonings.


  • Vulnerability
  • European Court of Human Rights
  • Indeterminate Concepts
  • Legal Reasoning
  • Legal Interpretation


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