How to apply to the European Court of Human Rights

To apply to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), you need to lodge an application directly to the Court in France.

Compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights is safeguarded by the European Court of Human Rights and by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe(Link to another website.), which supervises the national execution of judgments of the Court.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs is responsible for representing the Government of Finland before international judicial and investigative bodies considering human rights matters.

Admissibility criteria for a human rights application:

  • a statement of the alleged violation(s) committed by an authority of a right set out in the European Convention on Human Rights;
  • all the domestic remedies available have been exhausted; and
  • the application is lodged within six months from the date of the final decision taken on the matter by the highest domestic court or other authority.

Application instructions and forms

European Court of Human Rights: application instructions and forms(Link to another website.)

European Convention on Human Rights (PDF, 15 pages)

 

Where to send your application

Send your application by post to:

The Registrar

European Court of Human Rights

Council of Europe

F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex

France

Fax +33 (0)3 88 41 27 30

Tel. +33 (0)3 88 41 20 18

How your application is processed

To lodge your application, you must use the official application form provided by the Registry of the European Court of Human Rights. Make sure you fill in the application as instructed and that it complies with Rule 47 of the Rules of Court concerning the information and documents that must be provided.

You are recommended to seek legal assistance already when preparing your application to the Court, although you can also choose not to do so. However, at a later stage in the proceedings, the Court will require you to be represented by a lawyer.

At a later stage in the proceedings, the Court may also grant you legal aid covering at the maximum the lawyer’s fee, travelling and subsistence expenses and other necessary immediate expenses. Legal aid will not, however, be granted for preparing an application at the initial stage of the proceedings or granted at the time of lodging the application.

If your application is declared admissible, the Court will obtain further information. It will request the Government and the applicant for observations and may also hear witnesses and experts, carry out on-site investigations or invite the parties to be heard in Strasbourg.

Execution of the judgment

The judgment becomes final in three months from the date it is delivered, unless both parties notify the Court that they will not request that the case be referred to the Grand Chamber and that they are content with the ruling of the Chamber.

If a party to the case requests within that period of three months that the case be referred to the Grand Chamber, the judgment will not be final until a later date.

A panel of five judges of the Grand Chamber will examine the request. If the request is refused, the judgment of the Chamber becomes final. Otherwise, the Grand Chamber will decide the case by means of a judgment. The judgment of the Grand Chamber becomes final as soon as it has been delivered.

A final judgment by the European Court of Human Rights is legally binding on the respondent State.

If the European Convention on Human Rights has been violated, the Court may order the State violating the Convention to pay the applicant compensation that may include compensation for damage or reimbursement of legal costs, for example.

The State must make the payment within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final. If the payment is delayed, the State must pay default interest on the amount overdue.

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe supervises the execution of the Court’s judgment and the payment of amounts due.

The decisions, judgments and resolutions of the European Court of Human Rights can also be accessed on the websites of the Court and of the Finnish Finlex Data Bank of legislative and other judicial information.