Application to the European Court of Human Rights
The European Court of Human Rights (the ECHR) is an international court based in Strasbourg, France. The ECHR has jurisdiction to decide individual or State applications alleging violations of the
European Convention on Human Rights (the Convention). Complaints submitted to the ECHR must concern violations of the Convention allegedly committed by State and that directly and significantly affected the applicant.
Submitting an Application
To submit an application, applicants should use the application form, which is available online. The application and copies of all relevant documents must must be submitted by postal mail. Applications to the ECHR must comply with the requirements described in Article 47 of the Rules of Court. The ECHR has published the Notes for Filling in the Application for submitting an application.
Proceedings before the ECHR
There is no cost associated with submitting an application. Proceedings before the ECHR are conducted in most cases in writing.
Applications to the ECHR go through two phases: admissibility and merits.
When the ECHR receives an application, the ECHR determines if it meets all of the admissibility requirements.:
- Exhaustion of domestic remedies;
- Six-month application deadline from the final domestic judicial decision;
- Complaint against a State party to the European Convention on Human Rights;
- Applicant suffered a significant disadvantage.
If an application fails to meet any of these requirements, it will be declared inadmissible and cannot proceed any further. There is no appeal from a decision of inadmissibility.
The ECHR has published the Practical Guide on Admissibility Criteria as well the Online Admissibility Checklist to limit the amount of inadmissible applications lodged in the Strasbourg court. However, the great majority of applications lodged with the ECHR are declared inadmissible because they fail to meet one or more of the admissibility criteria.
If an application was not declared inadmissible the ECHR, after examining it, may find that there has been a violation of the Convention or, on the contrary, that there has been no violation of rights. If it does find a violation, it may award a compensation.
If the judgment is given by a Committee, it is final and there is no possibility of appeal. A Chamber judgment becomes final three months after it was delivered. During those three months an applicant or the respondent Government may request that the case be referred to the Grand Chamber for fresh examination. Grand Chamber judgments are final and not open to appeal.
When a judgment finding a violation becomes final, the ECHR forwards the file to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which is responsible for monitoring the execution of the ECHR’s judgments.
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