Finding Hidden Patterns in ECtHR’s Case Law: On How Citation Network Analysis Can Improve Our Knowledge of ECtHR’s Article 14 Practice

Aysel Küçüksu, Henrik Palmer Olson

International Journal of Discrimination and the Law. SAGE Publications. United States 2017 [Link]

This article is concerned with identifying how contemporary data technology can be used to find and analyse the big amount of case law generated by international courts in a more comprehensive way than that achieved through the traditional manual reading of case law at the core of textbook or doctrinal analysis of judgements. The focus of the article is the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHRs) and its Article 14 + 2 case law, which is studied through the tools of citation network analysis. The resulting findings are then compared to a standard textbook approach in order to show how citation network analysis offers a reliable method in selecting cases for qualitative analysis and drawing information relevant to specific legal issues. The article proposes and eventually advances a new approach to legal research, which integrates quantitative network analysis with qualitative legal (doctrinal) analysis, and shows how this form of analysis enables a study of case law through the recognition of patterns within it that would have otherwise been difficult to identify. Using this approach to advance new insights into the prohibition of discrimination under Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the article ultimately offers a new instrument for scholars and practitioners to put into use when considering the future narrative of discrimination law.


This project receives funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No 722826.