European Court of Human Rights
European Court of Human Rights

European court launches new system for single judge decisions

A new system for single judge decisions with more detailed reasoning has been announced today by the European Court of Human Rights.

Its statement confirms that: “Following the entry into force of Protocol No. 14 in 2010 introducing the possibility for a Single Judge to declare applications inadmissible, the court initiated new working methods to tackle the massive backlog of clearly inadmissible cases.

“In 2011 over 100,000 such applications were pending. The court had little choice but to adopt a summary procedure for dealing with them. Applicants received a decision letter rejecting complaints in a global manner.

“Now that that backlog has been eliminated and in light of the invitation of the Contracting States in the Brussels Declaration of March 2015, the court has adopted a new procedure, allowing more detailed reasoning to be given.

“In adopting a new approach the court has had to strike a balance between addressing a legitimate concern about the lack of individualised reasoning and maintaining an efficient process for handling inadmissible cases so as not to divert too many resources from examining potentially well-founded cases.

“As from June 2017, the court will therefore be changing the way in which it delivers single-judge decisions. Instead of a decision-letter, applicants will receive a decision of the court sitting in single judge formation in one of the court’s official languages and signed by a single judge, accompanied by a letter in the relevant national language. The decision will include, in many cases, reference to specific grounds of inadmissibility.

“However, the court will still issue global rejections in some cases, for example, where applications contain numerous ill-founded, misconceived or vexatious complaints.

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