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Areas of expertise

23.11.2016

HUMAN RIGHTS LAW AND PROCEDURE BEFORE THE ECHR


INDIVIDUAL APPLICATION TO THE EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS

 
If you believe that the authorities of the Polish State (or any of the 46 other States Parties to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms) have violated your human rights by their actions or omissions, at your request, I will analyze the case in terms of the possibility of lodging a complaint to the European Court of Rights Man in Strasbourg.
 

ADMISSIBILITY CRITERIA OF COMPLAINTS TO THE EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS


As part of the services offered by me, I conduct a preliminary analysis of the admissibility of the complaint contained in the Convention on Human Rights. At this stage, you will receive a recommendation from me whether to submit your complaint to the Strasbourg Court.
 

REPRESENTATION BEFORE THE EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS


When you decide to lodge you complaints with the European Court of Human Rights, I will fill in an application form on your behalf and submit it to the ECHR. At each stage of the proceedings, I will inform you about the next steps taken by the Court in your case. Where the Court communicates the case to the Government, I will respond to the Government's observations on your behalf and, in the rare cases where the Court schedules a hearing, I will be representing you in Strasbourg.
 

APPLICATION TO THE EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS - KEY ASPECTS


The European Court of Human Rights operates on the basis of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which entered into force in 1953. The Convention protects persons who are within jurisdiction of the State Parties to the Convention. All these individuals or groups of individuals may lodge their complaints with the European Court of Human Rights.
The European Convention on Human Rights is a binding instrument. The European Court of Human Rights that was created upon its provisions interprets its provisions and decides on the cases brought before it by the applicants.
 

What specific rights and freedoms does the ECHR include?

 

Those are:

  • right to life,
  • freedom from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment
  • prohibition of slavery and forced labor,
  • the right to liberty and personal security,
  • the right to a fair trial,
  • no punishment without law,
  • the right to respect for private and family life,
  • freedom of thought, conscience and religion,
  • freedom of expression,
  • freedom of assembly and association,
  • the right to marry,
  • the right to an effective domestic remedy,
  • freedom from discrimination,
  • prohibition of abuse of rights.


In addition, the European Convention on Human Rights protects the rights adopted in subsequent protocols. These are, among others the right to property, the right to education, the right to free movement or the ban on expulsion from the territory of the state. Not all Additional Protocols containing individual substantive rights have been ratified by all States Parties to the Convention, so it is necessary to check whether a given State against which we want to lodge our application with the Strasbourg Court is bound by the relevant protocol.

 

ADMISSIBILITY CRITERIA OF A COMPLAINT TO THE EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS - WHO CAN LODGE A COMPLAINT?

 

Under Article 34 of the ECHR, any natural person, legal person, group of persons or organization that considers that its rights under the Convention or its protocols have been violated has/have the right to lodge a complaint. This is a so-called individual complaint, which is the basis of the system of protection of human rights in 47 countries of Council of Europe. The complaint may only refer to a violation of the rights or freedoms set out in the Convention and its Protocols. It is equally important that an individual complaint to the European Court of Human Rights may refer only to actions of the state or its agents. Therefore, it is not possible to file a complaint to the ECHR against a natural person or a private organization.

 

INTERSTATE COMPLAINTS


There is also a category of interstate complaints. The parties to the process are the countries that have signed the Convention. Such cases, however, are rare these days. Most often, individual complaints are submitted to the European Court of Human Rights.

 

EXHAUSTION OF DOMESTIC REMEDIES


The Convention requires the exhaustion of domestic remedies available in the state (with some exceptions, as mentioned in this entry). Therefore, a complaint mechanism before the ECtHR requires, in principle, to go through the entire process of instance and sometimes to use specific judicial measures, such as a complaint about excessive length of proceedings. However, the ECHR does not require the applicants to use any extraordinary measures, such as complaints to the Ombudsman or complaints about the reopening of proceedings.

A complaint to the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg must be brought not later than within 6 months from the date of the decision by the last required instance in the country or from the date of receipt by the party of such a decision with reasons. Any application submitted after this deadline will automatically be rejected as not meeting the admissibility criteria. Determining the right date is not always obvious, the most frequently asked questions in this regard are answered in this article.

It is worth adding that at the begining you do not need to know any of the official languages ​​of the Court, i.e. English and French. Complaints are accepted in any of the languages ​​of the Council of Europe. However, it should be remembered that after the case is communicated to the government by the ECtHR, communication with the Court will be conducted only in French or English, and it is mandatory to use the help of professional representatives (attorney-at-law or advocate).

We wrote here about what should be included in the complaint to the ECHR.

 

LEGAL AID BEFORE THE EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS


Not everyone can afford a lawyer. Therefore, it is possible to grant an applicant legal aid on the basis of a declaration of income, assets and financial obligations. Legal aid is granted to an applicant only at the stage where his application has been communicated to the Government (it is impossible to grant legal aid before communication of the case) and only covers part of the costs of representation by a professional lawyer, a lump sum to be fixed by the Court.

Contact

LEGAL ADVISOR’S OFFICE AGATA BZDYŃ

Marszałkowska Center - Spaces

ul. Marszałkowska 126/134, 00-008 WARSZAWA

Mobile: +48 733 310 781

office@agatabzdyn-legal.pl

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