Divided in Diversity: National Legal Scholarship(s) and the European Convention of Human Rights
The present article looks at the history and features of legal academic discourse on the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR). It first establishes that people from inside the Convention system have been the first ones to posit ECHR law as a worthwhile object of study within academic arenas. It then compares French and Italian legal scholarship devoted to the ECHR and evidences that whereas the former is mostly due to human rights law specialists (among which both international and domestic lawyers), the latter was until recently mostly the result of studies by international lawyers. The paper then formulates some hypotheses as to the impact of the academic profile of ECHR law specialists in both countries on the discourse they actually produce, and suggests that this relationship may account for a greater receptivity of French legal audiences to the notion of the ECHR as a constitutional justice system / vector of a European public order compared to the Italian ones. However, the paper also insists that there is a very different understanding of the allegedly 'constitutional' dimension of the ECHR system according to whether the rationale is used by domestic lawyers or by insiders of the Convention system and/or international legal scholarship.
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