The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) is a very important tool for protecting the rights and freedoms of citizens in the European space. This is an instance that can establish justice for a person who cannot achieve it in his country. If you believe that your rights have been violated in any member country of the Council of Europe, you can file a complaint with the ECtHR.
Starting the process: when to apply?
First of all, you should determine when and in what case you can apply to the ECtHR. The court hears cases related to violations of the rights and freedoms defined in the European Convention on Human Rights. You should first try to resolve your issues through national remedies, including through the courts in the country where you experienced the infringement.
If you have exhausted all national remedies and are not satisfied with the decisions of national courts, you can apply to the ECtHR. Application deadlines are quite important, so be careful, as the application must be submitted within six months of the last national decision.
Preparation of documents
The first step in submitting an application is to prepare the necessary documents. Your application must be written or translated into one of the official languages of the ECtHR (English, French, Spanish, etc.) and contain the following:
- Statement. Describe in detail the facts of your case and exactly which rights were violated.
- Description of the national judicial process. Tell us about all the steps you have already taken in the national courts, including the decisions and arguments presented.
- Legal basis. Indicate the specific articles of the European Convention on Human Rights that have been violated in your case.
- Requirements and claims. Tell us what kind of reparations or other measures you want from the ECtHR.
The evidence. Provide evidence to support your claims, such as documents, witness statements, expert reports, etc.
You can submit your application online or on paper. Online submission is a more convenient and faster way. You should fill out a special form on the website and upload all the necessary documents.
If you choose to file on paper, you should mail the application and documents to the ECHR registration service.
Waiting for registration
After submitting your application, it will be considered by the court registration service. This step can take some time and it depends on the amount of work and how busy the court is. The registration service checks whether all the necessary documents have been submitted and whether they meet the requirements.
If any information or documents are missing in the application, you may be sent a request for their submission or clarification. This stage may take several weeks and your patience will be essential.
After the successful registration of your application, it will be transferred to the court for further consideration.
Consideration of the case
After the registration of the application, the case will be considered by the European Court of Human Rights. The court hears cases in accordance with the procedure established by the Convention and the ECtHR regulations. Consideration of the case may take a long time and consists of the following main stages:
- Preliminary consideration. The case will be transferred to one of the sections of the court for preliminary consideration. The Section will determine whether there are grounds for considering the case for a hearing, as well as whether it meets the requirements of the Convention.
- Hearing. If the case has successfully passed the preliminary stage, it will be considered on its merits. The court examines the facts, arguments of the parties, evidence and specific articles of the Convention that may be violated.
- Public hearings. In some cases, the case may be heard at a public hearing, where the parties have the opportunity to present their arguments and evidence in person.
After completion of the consideration of the case, the court makes a decision. It may be adopted in open or closed session, as the case may be. The court’s decision can recognize the violation of human rights, as well as establish the necessary measures to restore the violated rights. Such a decision is mandatory for implementation by any member country of the Council of Europe.
This process can take varying amounts of time to complete, and it’s important to be patient. It is important to remember that the ECtHR has a heavy workload and considers many cases, so the term of consideration may vary.
Submitting an application to the ECHR is a very important step in protecting your rights and freedoms. The process can be complex, so if you have doubts or need help, it is always best to consult qualified lawyers with experience in dealing with the ECHR.
Our law firm “Prykhodko and Partners” is ready to help you in all matters related to submitting an application to the European Court of Human Rights. Do not hesitate to contact us for advice and support in this important process.
For consultation or calculation of the price of filing an application with the ECHR – fill out the form below.