The aim of this component of our research, conducted primarily by the principal investigator, is to study the ‘grasstops’ mobilisations at the European level and taking place transnationally (and, in particular, transatlantically). The focus here is on the forms of legal and social activism as well as lobbying around religious freedoms issues employed by local, national and transnational organizations and networks in order to influence the agenda and views of European institutions and, particularly, of the ECtHR.
Questions guiding the study include: Who are the main actors that mobilise on religion-related issues at the supranational level? What are their mobilisation tactics? Are there specific forms of lobbying on religion issues before the European Court of Human Rights? Can we identify specific patterns shaping their mobilisations across countries and issue areas? To what extent and in what ways are these groups and actors influential?
The research entails in-depth interviews conducted mainly with cause lawyers and NGO representatives based in Strasbourg, London, Brussels and in various parts of the US, as well as with Members of the European Parliament, officials from the European Commission and from Council of Europe bodies, and former and current judges at the European Court of Human Rights. It also includes a thorough content analysis of individual religion-related third-party interventions to the European Court of Human Rights. With a special focus on ECtHR cases heard by both a chamber and the Grand Chamber of the Court, the study seeks to understand the nature and impact of mobilisation processes taking place between the two stages of the Court’s engagement with the given cases.