For the purposes of Article 71 'law' refers to written and unwritten law2 and to statutory and case law3. 'Law' is therefore understood in its substantive sense, and not its formal one, and amounts to the provision in force as the courts have interpreted it4. While states parties have the right to classify an offence as 'criminal' or otherwise, in interpreting Article 7 it is for the European Court of Human Rights, and not the domestic courts, ultimately to determine whether an offence is 'criminal' or not: 'criminal' has an autonomous meaning and therefore proceedings and penalties described as
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