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Eckart Ratz

The aim of this article is to give an overview of the tasks and the function of the Supreme Court of Justice in interaction with the other two “Highest Courts” of the Republic of Austria on the one hand, and the European Court of Human Rights as well as the Court of Justice of the European Union on the other hand. For this purpose introductory remarks will examine the Austrian understanding of the judiciary as a state power and judicial independence. The closing part of the article will particularly look into the role of the Supreme Court as highest instance in criminal matters.

Elisabeth Steiner and Andreea Maria Roşu

The present article examines how the progress of science, and in particular, medically assisted human reproductive technologies (ART) have provoked a revolution in the sphere of family relations, generating a series of ethical and legal conflicts. The article focuses on the European perspective, without ignoring the international sphere, given the globalization of the phenomenon. The emerging legal issues are analyzed through the filter of international human rights, not only an important aspect to take into consideration in the context of bioethics in general, but a “passage obligé” given that certain concepts find their explanation and coordinates in international human rights law. It is from this perspective that the relationship between ART and human rights is presented. The applicable international and European legal instruments and principles shall be mentioned, as well as a brief comparison of national legal frameworks in Europe. The emerging bioethical and legal issues are examined in correlation with the response of the European Court of Human Rights through its case law aimed at balancing conflicting rights when faced with issues pertaining to ART. Lastly, the article presents in more detail the particular legal issues under debate in France and Italy, two European countries with specific legislation in the field.