Complaint to the European Court of Human Rights

MAXIM SLOBODIANIN
Attorney

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Complaint to the European Court of Human Rights
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In today`s world its seems to be impossible – to avoid the judicial processes. Every day happens violation of somebody`s rights and interests. The court is the guarantor of justice and main mechanism, which restores human rights.

Sounds great, but modern legal environment of our country is unstable. There are much reasons of this, but main question that comes to mind – what should person do if national courts issued decision not on person`s side?

In this situation person have only one – last form of protection of rights and interests – write a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights.

Main legislation, which regulate ECHR`s activity, first of all, is European Convention on Human Rights. According to the article 19 of Convention, To ensure the observance of the engagements undertaken by the High Contracting Parties in the Convention and the Protocols thereto, there shall be set up a European Court of Human Rights. It means, that if u want to complain to the ECHR, first of all your lawsuit must be built against the State – through State`s competent authorities.

If you wish to apply to the ECHR, the first thing you should do, if for some reason you have not done this before, is to check that the Court has not ruled in cases identical to yours. The ECHR receives tens of thousands of complaints each year and does not have sufficient resources to deal with them all – therefore, the Court often not dealt with minor or repeated complaints.

In any case, in order to apply to the ECHR, several preconditions must be done:

  • First of all, person can lodge the application Against one or more of the States bound by the Convention which, in your opinion, has/have (through one or more acts or omissions directly affecting you) violated the European Convention on Human Rights.
  • Second, a person may apply to the ECHR if he or she has been the victim of a violation (the case concerns a person personally and directly) under the Convention or its protocols. It should be noted that the circumstances challenged by the applicant to the ECHR must cause real and substantial damage, and the burden of substantiating the materiality of such damage lies with the applicant.
  • Thirdly, You must have used all the remedies in the State concerned that could provide redress for the situation you are complaining about. However, there is an exception to this rule - if a person would prove that the remedies of judicial protection in the State are ineffective, the court may begin consideration of the case even without checking case by all remedies of State protection.

The complaint must relate to facts for which a certain State structure (court, or a certain executive or legislative body) is responsible.

The Court cannot deal with complaints against individuals or private institutions, such as commercial companies.

The task of each person who wishes to lodge a complaint to the ECHR – the justification of the application – to clearly describe the circumstances of the case, as well as provide evidence to prove the circumstances (documents, decisions, medical certificates, testimony of witnesses, etc.). The ECHR is not a court of appeal concerning State`s courts – and therefore it is not possible to simply complain about the unfairness or incorrectness of the judgments of a particular State.

The official languages of the court are French and English. However, this does not preclude an application to the court in the national language of a country, which has ratified the Convention.

The court only accepts applications sent by mail. Therefore, in the case of sending an application by e-mail or fax, it is critical important to duplicate such an application by regular mail.

All correspondence regarding the complaint must be sent to:

  • The Registrar
  • European Court of Human Rights
  • Council of Europe
  • F–67075 STRASBOURG CEDEX
  • FRANCE – FRANCE.

According to Art. 47 of the ECHR Regulation Each application must contain:

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  • The name, date of birth, nationality and address of the applicant and, where the applicant is a legal person, the full name, date of incorporation or registration, the official registration number (if any) and the official address;
  • The name, address, telephone and fax numbers and e-mail address of the representative, if any;
  • Where the applicant is represented, the dated and original signature of the applicant on the authority section of the application form;
  • The name of the Contracting Party or Parties against which the application is made;
  • A concise and legible statement of the facts; Convention and relevant arguments;
  • Confirmation of the applicant's compliance with the criteria admissibility (exhaustion of domestic remedies and the six-month rule) set out in paragraph 1 Article 35 of the Convention;
  • A concise and legible statement confirming the applicant’s compliance with the admissibility criteria laid down in Article 35 § 1 of the Convention.

Failure to comply with these requirements often leads to denial of registration and court proceedings.

The official website of the ECHR has a link to the form that must be filled in case of going to court. (https://www.echr.coe.int/Pages/home.aspx?p=applicants/forms/ukr&c= ).

It is critical important to complete the form without errors, with a clear and acceptable justification.

And although you are not required to have a representative at the primary stages of lodging an application to the ECHR, having one will help you avoid mistakes in an application, significantly increase your chances of success, make court’s decision acceptable and desirable.

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