How to make a valid application
If you decide to apply to the Court, please ensure that your application complies with Rule 47 of the Rules of Court, which sets out the information and documents that must be provided.
Failure to provide any of the information or documents required by Rule 47 §§ 1 and 2 may result in the complaints not being examined by the Court. It is imperative that all fields in the application form are filled in.
A valid application will be examined by the Court; this does not mean that the application will be declared admissible.
Your application to the ECHR
This pamphlet, describing the various stages of the procedure by which the Court examines an application, is intended to answer the main questions that applicants might ask, especially once their application has been sent to the Court.
Applications to the Court must be sent by post to the following address:
European Court of Human Rights
Council of Europe
F-67075 Strasbourg cedex
Please note that sending an application by fax no longer interrupts the six-month time-limit.
Filling in an application form online
Please note that the application form will work correctly only with Adobe Reader 9 upwards (download available from www.adobe.com).
Please save a copy of the form locally before filling it in using Adobe Reader, then print it and post it to the Court.
The Practical Guide on Admissibility Criteria is intended mainly for lawyers who wish to bring a case before the Court. It describes the conditions of admissibility which an application must meet.
The admissibility checklist is designed to allow potential applicants to check whether, on the face of it, they satisfy the main admissibility criteria for lodging an application with the Court. However, the checklist is intended purely for guidance and has no legal force.
This flow chart indicates the progress of a case by judicial formation.
What are Interim Measures?
When the Court receives an application it may decide that a State should take certain measures provisionally while it continues its examination of the case. This usually consists of requesting a State to refrain from doing something, such as not returning individuals to countries where it is alleged that they would face death or torture.
How to contact the Court
The Court has established a dedicated Fax number for sending requests for interim measures: +33 (0)3 88 41 39 00
Please note that failure to use this number may result in your request not being dealt with immediately, especially during holiday periods. For this reason, please use the above number for all correspondence concerning interim measures.
Faxes and letters are received on:
- Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.*
- Requests sent after 4 p.m. will not normally be dealt with on that day. (List of public holidays)
Requests must be set out as comprehensively and concisely as possible. However, it is recommended that any faxes exceeding ten pages be sent in several parts so that they can be received and processed in the best possible conditions.
* Local time (GMT + 1)
Information and documents to be attached to the request
Mark in bold on the first page of the document:
“Rule 39. Urgent”
Contact person (name and contact details): ...
In deportation or extradition cases, the following should also be specified:
Removal expected on (date, time and destination): …
Provide a reasoned, specific and complete request.
Requests for interim measures must be submitted to the Court with the applicant’s consent and should preferably be accompanied by a properly completed application form. If the request is made by an applicant, an authority form must be completed and sent immediately or within the next few days.
Attach a copy of all decisions relating to the request, in particular any relevant decisions by domestic courts, tribunals or other authorities.
Attach a copy of all other documents considered to substantiate the allegations submitted to the Court.
Interim measures are granted by the Court only in clearly defined conditions, namely where there is a risk that serious violations of the Convention might occur.
A high proportion of requests for interim measures are inappropriate and are therefore refused.
Following up requests
Once a request for interim measures has been submitted, the applicant or his or her representative is required to follow it up. In particular, it is essential that the Court is immediately informed of any change in the applicant’s administrative status or other circumstances (for example, if the applicant is granted a residence permit or returns to his or her country of origin). The applicant’s representative must also inform the Court promptly on his or her own initiative of any potential loss of contact with his or her client.