Document Type

Theses, Ph.D


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Publication Details

This Thesis was sucessfully submitted for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) at the University of Ulster at Magee College 2006.Supervisor Professor Javaid Rehman


This thesis argues that international fundamental rights provide the most appropriate measure of justice for the Union’s area of ‘freedom, security and justice’ (AFSJ). However, it is argued that the normative status of international fundamental rights in Union law is undermined by the pursuit of the objective of autonomy of Union law and deficiencies in the legal mechanisms for giving effect to those rights.

This research analyses the sources and normative status of international fundamental rights in Union law, and in particular the AFSJ, both as currently constituted and under the Constitution, and assesses the robustness and effectiveness of the Union’s constitutional order in guaranteeing the protection of those rights.

Part one investigates the relationship of Union law with international fundamental rights. Chapter two provides the theoretical justification for the selection of international fundamental rights as a standard. Chapter three critically analyses the pursuit of autonomy as an objective. Chapter four examines the normative status of international fundamental rights in Union law. Chapter five critically analyses the reforms in the Constitution. Part two investigates the role of justice in the AFSJ. Chapter six outlines the development and ideological basis of the AFSJ. Chapter seven critically assesses the effectiveness of fundamental rights protection in the AFSJ. Chapter eight undertakes a case study on the compatibility of key Union asylum and immigration measures with the principle of non-refoulement.

In conclusion, Chapter nine argues that partnership rather than autonomy should be the basis of the relationship between the Union and national courts with the objective of enhancing the status of international fundamental rights in Union law. The reforms in the Constitution to the structure of fundamental rights protection and to the AFSJ would overall facilitate achievement of this objective and would further the attainment of justice in the AFSJ.