The European Convention on Human Rights has traditionally been regarded as a civil and political rights instrument. Recently, a new method of interpretation, which came to be known also as the integrated approach to human rights, is reflected in decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. This approach is based on the idea that the enjoyment of civil and political rights is rendered meaningless if social rights are neglected and that social entitlements are as intrinsically valuable as the interests underlying civil and political rights. The present piece analyses a recent judgment of the Court, Sidabras and Dziautas v. Lithuania, which is likely to be regarded as a paradigm example of the integrated approach, and explores its implications for the interpretation of the ECHR. It argues that the Court has to address the social rights implications of the Convention under a coherent theory of adjudication according to principles that lie behind the ECHR.
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