European Court: procedure and practice » from registration to consideration of the complaint

After the registration of a complaint and subject to the applicant’s compliance with the formal requirements, the case is allocated to one of the judicial formations. As noted above, clearly inadmissible cases are dealt with by a single judge. It should be emphasized that more than 90% of all cases submitted to the Court are declared inadmissible at the initial stage because of the applicants’ failure to comply with the admissibility criteria mentioned above or other requirements set forth in Articles 34 and 35 of the Convention. Most of the cases allocated to committees and Chambers are eventually declared preliminary admissible and communicated to the Respondent Government (this does not preclude the Court from declaring the case inadmissible at a later stage, either in a committee or chamber formations). At this stage the parties (the applicant and the Government) are invited to make written submissions on the subject matter of the complaint. According to the rules of procedure, these submissions shall be made in one of the Court’s official languages and in strict compliance with formal requirements. In exceptional cases the Chambers of the Court and the Grand Chamber can hold oral hearings in the case or even a fact finding missions. After obtaining observations from the parties (including applicant’s just satisfaction claims), the Court will hold deliberations and subsequently deliver a judgment or a decisions in the case finding a violation of the Convention or the absence thereof. When finding a violation of the Convention, the Court may also award just satisfaction to the applicant which is not necessarily limited to the payment of a compensation, but can also include general or individual recommendations to the Respondent State, such as to re-open the applicant’s case, to make necessary changes to the judicial practice, etc. The Court notifies the parties and the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe of its judgments and decisions.