As a rule, the ECHR considers the complaint in several stages. The first stage is the preliminary stage, during which the applicant writes to the EU Secretariat. Until a few years ago, this stage took a long time, as the applicant was clarified this or that information. All data had to be provided in writing, so the process took months and even years.
Today the situation has changed radically. The EU Secretariat has abandoned this practice. After registration of the complaint, the applicant receives a decision that his application is considered admissible or inadmissible and is not subject to consideration. In the first case, the application is sent to the post office.
Every day, the International Judicial Institute receives about 1,500 correspondence, so the processing of letters takes a long time. The central post office sends the application to the legal department, which considers the cases of the respondent country. Its experts are familiar with the laws of this state and are fluent in the language.
The next stage – the application is assigned a number. However, this does not mean that the case has been accepted for proceedings, the employee begins to prepare data for judges, who will later consider the complaint. This procedure can take a long time, as the EU receives around 50,000 complaints a year.
◈ Consideration of the ECHR complaint
If all the information on the agreement has been collected, the Legal Officer submits the complaint to the ECtHR for consideration. It can fall into one of five sections:
If the complaint raises issues on which the Strasbourg Court has repeatedly ruled, ie repeated issues, the case is referred to the Committee of 3 Judges. He has the right to declare the appeal inadmissible (stop the proceedings), or to allow the complaint on the merits.
If the appeal has no prospects, it shall be served on a single judge, who may declare the application inadmissible or refer it to the Committee. As a rule, at this stage the procedure for reviewing the complaint in the ECHR ends with the issuance of a decision to the applicant.
If the EU has not previously ruled on such statements, the complaint is sent to a Chamber of seven judges. There may be two results of the examination of the ECHR complaint: it is decided on the merits or declared inadmissible.
In particularly difficult situations, the Chamber of 7 Judges decides to refer the case to the Grand Chamber.
◈ Deadlines for reviewing complaints in the ECHR
The complaint procedure in the ECHR usually takes a long time – from 2 to 5 years. Only the registration of the appeal is performed in 8-10 weeks after the filing of the complaint, then the decision on the admissibility or inadmissibility of the appeal takes another 1-2 years. An objection may be exchanged between the applicant and the Russian Representative within 6 months. The same amount of time will be needed to make a decision on the merits.
Of course, you can ask the EU to notify the Representative of the respondent country early and to consider the case on an extraordinary basis. The latter option is possible on the basis of 41 conditions of the EU Regulation, which raises issues of paramount importance. For example, if it is a gross violation of the right to life.
As practice shows, a simplified procedure for reviewing a complaint in the ECHR is possible only if the appeal raises issues of non-compliance with one or two articles of the EC, and not the entire list of rights.
◈ Making a decision
The last stage at which the procedure for reviewing complaints in the ECHR is completed. After examining the appeal on the merits, the EU makes a final decision – human rights have been violated (monetary compensation is granted), or no violations have been identified. All EU decisions are not appealed.
➤ Let’s summarize
The implementation of EU decisions is ensured by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. EU decisions are binding on the participating countries, which are obliged to pay monetary compensation within three months if the applicant’s rights have been found to have been violated. In addition to the payment of monetary compensation, it is possible to take individual measures: consideration of the complaint in domestic courts or a measure to restore the right. The EU may also be recommended to take measures of a general nature: changes in case law or legislation if they do not comply with EC principles. For example, Belgian law has been amended following a Marx complaint against children born out of wedlock.
Having considered the procedure for dealing with complaints in the ECHR, it can be concluded that it is strictly followed by the main judicial body of the Council of Europe. All EU decisions taken on individuals and non-governmental organizations can make a significant contribution to changing the legal situation in the Member States. However, filing a complaint and going through all stages of the case in the Strasbourg court is stressful. If you need the help of an experienced lawyer on these issues, you can contact our company. We will provide comprehensive legal support.
Author: Anatolii Perepelchenko
lawyer, deputy managing partner
«Prikhodko & Partners» Law Firm