Dr Olivier Baillet awarded the Special PhD Distinction Jaques-Mourgeon by the SFDI

11 May 2021

On the 6th of May 2021, the Société française pour le droit international (SFDI) awarded Dr Olivier Baillet, Senior Research Fellow in the Department of International Law and Dispute Resolution, the 2021 Jacques Mourgeon Special Distinction for his doctoral thesis.

The Jacques Mourgeon Prize was established in 1998 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Initially known as ‘Prix des droits de l’homme’, it has been renamed in 2005 after its founder, Professor Jacques Mourgeon (1938-2005).

Dr Olivier Baillet’s thesis, entitled <em>L'économie dans la jurisprudence de la Cour européenne des droits de l'homme (Economics within the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights)</em>, reviews the relationship between economics and rights. Human Rights and the economic system entertain an ambivalent relationship. These rights have sometimes been accused of bringing about capitalism, while they represent for others useful means of correcting its excesses. These differences have led to the distinction between “political and civil rights” and “economic and social rights” which somewhat obscures the full extent of both conflicts and concurrence between the two systems. The lack of political consensus gave birth to a legal instrument conceived as being deprived of any economic purpose. Recent strategies of States in terms of ratification and reservation suggest, however, that it has acquired some degree of economic normativity. The study of the case-law of the ECtHR shows the extent and the way the interactions between rights and economics unfold. Economics are incorporated as facts but also as the object of European rights, which then partially substitute for absent economic freedom and rights. Some enduring contradiction between the Convention and economics nonetheless leads the judges to adapt conventional rights and obligations. This adaptation is again ambivalent, as it is can pursue the preservation of the mechanism’s integrity as well as the preservation of the specificities of the economic system. Though pervasive, economic matters remain perceived as inferior to supposedly “non-economic” traditional conventional values. While the Court undeniably legitimises the existing economic order, it seeks, not always successfully, to prevent the Convention from turning into the legal foundation of a European economic order.