June 25, 2015

The Right To Freedom of Assembly

Orsolya Salait has published The Right to Freedom of Assembly: A Comparative Study (Hart Publishing, 2015). Here is a description of the contents from the publisher's website.
Assembly is natural to people, and it reflects and shapes cultural values. People do it for many reasons: noble or base, dangerous or innocent, social or political, strategic or communicative. But, despite the general significance of assembly, the right to freedom of assembly was often subjugated to the right to freedom of expression, both in courts and in legal scholarship. Regarding freedom of assembly, this comparative study examines five influential jurisdictions in Western human rights jurisprudence and reveals the similarities and inconsistencies between them. It also exposes their shortcomings, such as the United States' narrowly-focused content neutrality and public forum, the UK's blanket bans based on intangible and distant harm, Germany's preventative restrictions and viewpoint discrimination, and France's uncertain status and opaque judicial reasoning. Such divergence among European States hinders the development of a consistent assembly doctrine by the European Court of Human Rights. The book argues that it is time for jurisprudence to recognize values specific to freedom of assembly and move away from a narrow focus on expression.

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