Assessment of admissibility of complaints to the European Court
Procedure for application to the European Court, Strasbourg
To initiate proceedings on your case, a complaint must be prepared and lodged with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)
In my experience, the first difficulties arise at this preliminary stage and most of the complaints are dismissed exactly because of incorrect drafting.
Thorough preparation of an application to the European Court can prevent your case from being rejected and will save you a lot of time.
There are strict rules defining how an application should be submitted to the Court.
Compliance with all the formalities, correct preparation of documents (including correctly indicated post address) is a key to success at the first stage of your case. That is why I recommend you not to prepare the case yourself, but to apply for legal advice and assistance of experienced and professional lawyer.
How to properly lodge application with the European Court
Application form can be downloaded from the Court’s website or requested from the Registry by post (the Court however does not recommend it, in order to save time).
Application form cannot be lodged online – it should be duly filled in, printed out, signed by an applicant and dispatched by post together with copies of all relevant documents to the following address:
European Court of Human Rights
Council of Europe
F-67075 Strasbourg cedex
There is a set of criteria, failure to comply with which will result in a complaint being rejected. For details see the Complaint to the European Court section of the website.
Filling in the application form
All sections of the application form shall be completed in a clear and concise manner. The application form shall be signed by an applicant or his designated representative and dispatched to the Court by post without undue delay.
The application form shall be completed in one of the two official languages of the Court: English or French, or in an official language of any State Party to the Convention.
Personal attendance is not required to lodge an application. It will not somehow speed up the examination of the case and an applicant will not be able to obtain any legal advice from the Court’s staff.
Application form shall contain, in particular, the following information:
personal and contact details;
concise and legible statement of facts, the essence of the complaint;
statement of alleged violation(s) with reference to the corresponding Articles of the Convention;
information about compliance with admissibility criteria;
copies of all relevant decisions taken by domestic authorities and copies of other relevant documents.
Applicants who wish to conceal their identity from public shall request the Court accordingly. Requests for anonymity shall be made in the application form or immediately after lodging it and shall be supported with arguments explaining the necessity to anonymise the applicant.
Examination of complaints by the Court
Proceedings are conducted in writing. Applicant are informed in writing of any decision taken by the Court. Public hearings are exceptional. Case are examined free of charge. Applicants only have to bear their own costs: lawyers’ fees, expenses relating to research and correspondence, etc.
Application to the European Court is subject to strict formalities and has a lot of nuances and peculiarities. Even if an applicant manages to draft an submit an application himself, he or she will need a lawyer once an application is notified to the Government.
As one of the leading human rights lawyers practising in the ECHR proceedings and having wide experience of legal representation of clients from all over Europe, I am prepared to present your case throughout all stages of its examination by the Court, from appropriate formulation of admissible complaint to participation in oral hearings and execution of judgment or decision in your case.