The European Court of Human Rights

The European Court of Human Rights should not be mixed up with the European Union’s court. “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

  • Right to a fair trial
  • No punishment without law
  • Right to protection for private and family life
  • Freedom of speech

Since 1950, the European Court, formally known as the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), assesses uncertainties and disputes about alleged violations of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). However, the Court is not an appellate of national courts and authorities and cannot, therefore, overturn a judgment or decision which has been made by a national authority or court.

A private citizen can make a complaint about how a national court or authority handled a case in violation of human rights. The European Court cannot change a conviction, but if one is proved right in the European Court, the state will be reprimanded and there may be a case for damages.

The European Court consists of one judge from each member nation in the Council of Europe, which is appointed by the Consultative Assembly of the institution. Its seat is in the French city of Strasbourg.