The ECHR is Drowning in Cases

The ECHR is Drowning in Cases

I’ve heard that the docket for the European Court of Human Rights is out of control, but a backlog of 120,000* cases is a little ridiculous.

There is no doubt about the seriousness of the situation in Strasbourg. Jean-Paul Costa, president of the European Court of Human Rights, has referred to it as extremely disturbing. The parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe, which is responsible for the institution, has said the court threatens to suffocate.

A count late last year showed ‘Strasbourg’ has a backlog of over 119,300 cases, all complaints from European citizens who feel their human rights have been in some way violated. They did not get their way in their home countries and decided to plead their case at a higher level. Strasbourg is their last resort.

Reforms are planned. But given the size of the backlog, serious reforms are needed.

*Corrected from original post, which said “140,000”.

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Courts & Tribunals, Europe, International Human Rights Law
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Alex Welsh
Alex Welsh

Judging from recent posts, I think this site should be renamed “Julian Ku’s daily dose of schadenfreude.”


Julian (and ors)–any views on the Interlaken Declaration from the week before last and its potential to make a real change? There’s been almost total silence on it from US-based law blogs even though it’s potentially really serious for the Convention and Court (increased filtering, statute for the Court, simplified future amendment, increased use of pilot judgments etc)