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'Contestation'

In the case of Boulois v Luxembourg [2012[ application 37575/04, the ECtHR gave the following guidance on the scope of Article 6(i):
For Article 6 (i) in its “civil” limb to be applicable, there must be a dispute (“contestation” in the French text) over a “right” which can be said, at least on arguable grounds, to be recognised under domestic law, irrespective of whether it is protected under the Convention. The dispute must be genuine and serious; it may relate not only to the actual existence of a right but also to its scope and the manner of its exercise; and, finally, the result of the proceedings must be directly decisive for the right in question, mere tenuous connections or remote consequences not being sufficient to bring Article 6 (i) into play.
Article 6 (i) does not guarantee any particular content for (civil) “rights and obligations” in the substantive law of the Contracting States: the Court may not create by way of interpretation of Article 6 (i) a substantive right which has no legal basis in the State concerned (see, for example, Fayed v. the United Kingdom, and Roche v. the United Kingdom). The starting-point must be the provisions of the relevant domestic law and their interpretation by the domestic courts (see Masson and Van Zon v. the Netherlands [1995] ECHR 32, and Roche v United Kingdom (2005). The Court would need strong reasons to differ from the conclusions reached by the superior national courts by finding, contrary to their view, that there was arguably a right recognised by domestic law.
In carrying out this assessment, it is necessary to look beyond the appearances and the language used and to concentrate on the realities of the situation (see Van Droogenbroeck v. Belgium, and Roche, 1982.)

 

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