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Vulnerability, Care Ethics and the Protection of Socioeconomic Rights via Article 3 ECHR

Morris, Katie Amelia

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Katie Morris
PGR Student Doctor of Philosophy


Vulnerability analysis serves a distinct purpose within adjudication of Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights, in that it has been used by the European Court of Human Rights to lower the threshold for a finding of ill-treatment from which positive obligations relating to socioeconomic rights have arisen. However, the group-based notion of vulnerability invoked by the Court is extremely limited, producing minimal protection from deprivation whilst equally paternalizing and essentialising the populations it deems vulnerable. In light of these failings, this article proposes a new element to be incorporated within the Court’s vulnerability analysis which can deliver greater protection of socioeconomic rights via Article 3: the political theory of care. By highlighting care’s potential to transform the concepts of vulnerability and state responsibility whilst empowering the care-receiver, it argues that care can overcome the limitations of the Court’s current approach as a means of targeting destitution.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 8, 2023
Online Publication Date Nov 8, 2023
Publication Date 2023-12
Deposit Date Sep 8, 2023
Publicly Available Date Dec 5, 2023
Journal Human Rights Law Review
Print ISSN 1461-7781
Electronic ISSN 1744-1021
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 23
Issue 4
Article Number ngad028
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Published Journal Article (457 Kb)


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Copyright Statement
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact

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