Utrecht Law Review, Vol 15, Iss 1, Pp 1-25 (2019)
Utrecht University School of Law, 2019.
LCC:Law in general. Comparative and uniform law. Jurisprudence
The personal scope of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (the Charter) is an area that still needs to be defined by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). The issue surrounding the personal scope entails the question of who can claim the protection of fundamental rights. A particularly controversial matter has proved to be the question whether, and if so under what circumstances, private legal entities and public authorities can invoke fundamental rights. This article aims to provide a detailed examination of the ‘landscape’ the CJEU must take into account when dealing with the personal scope of the Charter in the future. Firstly, this landscape is made up of the background and objectives of the EU and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) legal systems. Secondly, it is shaped by the personal scope application of the Charter as interpreted by the CJEU so far, and the personal scope application of the ECHR as interpreted by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). Finally, the application by Member State courts of fundamental rights, via the Charter, ECHR and constitutional rights, forms an element in this landscape. An examination of these aspects will provide answers to the question of how the three main players on the European fundamental rights stage – the CJEU, the ECtHR and the national courts – have applied the personal scope of their fundamental rights up to now. This also encompasses answers to the question of how these applications relate to the different background and objectives of the ECHR and the EU legal systems. These answers will provide the CJEU with tools to deliver well-informed rulings on the personal scope of Charter provisions in the future.