Apply to the Court

Human Rights Building

Rule 47 of the Rules of Court was amended on 1 January 2016

An amended version of Rule 47 of the Rules of Court, which sets out the conditions for applying to the Court and for lodging a complete and valid application, came into force on 1 January 2016. The changes are minor and are described in detail in the press release issued by the Court on 01/12/2015.

Following the amendments, all relevant documents including the application form and the Notes for filling in the application form have been updated. Applicants and their representatives should use the current version of the application form. Old application forms which have been available since 1 January 2014 and were sent to the Court before 1 January 2016 will still be accepted if they are otherwise in conformity with the Rule 47 requirements.

Press release (01/12/2015)

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 will result in the complaints not being examined by the Court. It is imperative that all fields in the application form are filled in.

Rule 47 Institution of Proceedings

A valid application will be examined by the Court; this does not mean that the application will be declared admissible.

How to lodge an application

The application form should be downloaded, completed, printed out and sent by post to the Court with the necessary documents. No other form must be used.
Do not contact the Court for a paper copy of the form; printing it yourself will save time and make sure your application reaches the Court in good time.


Useful documents

Questions and answers

Q&A Coverpage

The "Questions & answers" provide information to future applicants.

Questions & Answers

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Admissibility Checklist

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.

The online admissibility checklist

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.

Your application to the ECHR - How to apply and how your application will be processed

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Admissibility Guide

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.

Practical Guide on Admissibility Criteria

Flow chart

This flow chart indicates the progress of a case by judicial formation.

Simplified case processing flow chart before the Court

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Video on lodging an application

This video clip is a tutorial explaining how the application form must be completed in order to be examined by the Court. Please note that although this video correctly reflects the main points on lodging an application, some information needs to be updated according to the latest reference documents.

Video "How to lodge a valid application"

Notes for filling in the application form

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COURTalks- disCOURs

The fifteen-minute video provides judges, lawyers and other legal professionals, as well as civil society representatives, with an overview of the admissibility criteria which all applications must meet in order to be examined by the Court.


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Video on the admissibility conditions

This video sets out the main conditions required in order to apply to the Court.

Video on the admissibility conditions

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Interim Measures

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.

Requests for interim measures (Practice direction)

General presentation Factsheet on interim measures

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.

Statistics on Interim measures Interim measures by respondent State and country of destination

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 a representative, 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.

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.