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‘Outsourcing’ the integrated approach to interpretation: The implications of Association of Academics v Iceland
European Labour Law Journal  (IF),  Pub Date : 2020-01-22, DOI: 10.1177/2031952519900515
Halldor Kr. Thorsteinsson

The European Court of Human Rights has recognised the right to strike as falling within the ambit of Article 11 ECHR. The Strasbourg Court has expanded the scope of the provision by applying the so-called integrated approach, integrating materials of other international bodies into the interpretation of the Convention. Recently, the protection of the right to strike under Article 11 (1) ECHR has been threatened by the expansion of Article 11 (2). The concurrent expansion of the two provisions has created a rift in the jurisprudence of the Court. The inconsistent application of the integrated approach poses a further threat to the protection of the right to strike. This article focuses on a recent verdict of the Strasbourg Court, Association of Academics v Iceland. The decision raises questions about the interpretative approach of the Court. It has been criticised for neglecting the integrated approach. It is argued that the integrated approach was not completely abandoned in Association of Academics. Instead, the Court granted discretion to the national courts once it had established that the integrated approach was applied at a national level. The ‘outsourcing’ of the integrated approach in the case led to unfortunate results for the right to strike, as the Court permitted extensive restrictions to the right on weak substantial grounds. The essay concludes with discussing the possible implications of the decision.