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HUDOC FAQ: Frequently asked questions

How do I search in the Hudoc database?

The User manual and Video tutorials are available under "Help".
For details and examples on how to use filters and search fields, the user can place the mouse pointer on the question mark icon arranged on the right of every search tools in the Hudoc interface.

What document collections are available?

The case-law of the Convention organs is classified in separate collections, which can be searched either individually or together – Judgments (Grand Chamber, Chamber and Committee), Admissibility (Grand Chamber, Chamber and Committee), Commission and Screening Panel Decisions, Communicated Cases, Advisory Opinions, Reports and Resolutions (execution and merits) of the Committee of Ministers.

Legal Summaries are extracted from the Information Note of the Court's case-law.
Only judgments of Grand Chamber and Chamber are selected by default (ticked box).
If you wish to consult different collections, please select them by the same method.

In what languages are texts available?

Official Languages:

Judgments, decisions and other texts are available in HUDOC in one or both of the Court's official languages (English and French).

Non-official translations:

Translations into non-official languages have also been added to HUDOC.
Unless otherwise indicated, translations into non-official languages are not produced by the Registry of the Court and the Registry does not check their accuracy or linguistic quality.
These translations are published in HUDOC for information purposes only and the Court accepts no responsibility for their quality or content.
Multiple translations into the same language of individual judgments or decisions may appear.

What texts are analysed?

Only cases of importance levels 1 and 2 contain a full analysis and can be searched under all the fields.

Owing to the large number of cases concerned, from 2008 onwards only limited analytical information is available in respect of judgments and decisions of lesser jurisprudential interest (importance level 3). Only the following fields are operational for searches concerning this category:

  • Text
  • Language
  • Importance level
  • Respondent State
  • Date
  • Article
  • Keywords (not for decisions)
  • Conclusion

Otherwise, the following search facilities are not available in respect of importance level 3 judgments and decisions: Strasbourg Case-Law, Rules of Court, Applicability, Separate Opinion, Domestic Law and International Law and Other Relevant Material fields.

What do the importance levels correspond to? Where are they mentioned?

This field can be used to carry out searches of judgments, decisions and/or advisory opinions classified by level of importance.

Cases are divided into four categories, the highest level of importance being Case Reports, followed by levels 1, 2 and 3. The classification by levels 1, 2 and 3 remains provisional until the Bureau has decided whether a case should appear in the Court's official reports series. The list of cases selected by the Bureau can be found on the Court's website under “Case-law”. For example, a case that was provisionally classified as level 1 but ultimately selected for the official reports will change category.

Case Reports: Judgments, decisions and advisory opinions delivered since the inception of the new Court in 1998 which have been published or selected for publication in the Court's official Reports of Judgments and Decisions. The selection from 2007 onwards has been made by the Bureau of the Court following a proposal by the Jurisconsult.

Judgments of the former Court (published in Series A and Reports of Judgments and Decisions) and cases published in the former Commission's series Decisions and Reports have not been included in the Case Reports category and are therefore classified by levels 1, 2 and 3 only.

1 = High importance: All judgments, decisions and advisory opinions not included in the Case Reports which make a significant contribution to the development, clarification or modification of its case-law, either generally or in relation to a particular State.

2 = Medium importance: Other judgments, decisions and advisory opinions which, while not making a significant contribution to the case-law, nevertheless go beyond merely applying existing case-law.

3 = Low importance: Judgments, decisions and advisory opinions of little legal interest, namely judgments and decisions that simply apply existing case-law, friendly settlements and strike outs (unless raising a particular point of interest). The importance levels are mentioned in the notice accompanying each document.

What is a search with filters?

Filters are composed of: 'Language', 'Importance', 'State', 'Article', 'Non-violation' and 'Violation'.
You can also filter your search by 'Keywords'.
You will also find ‘Date’, ‘Jurisdiction’,  ‘Judge’, ‘Originating body’ and ‘Organisation’ filters under More filters.
You can narrow easily your search with filters.
The results list will be updated each time you use a filter.
Your filter's choices will be listed in the criteria bar.

What is a Text search?

The text-search function enables you to search for a word, sentence or sequence of words within the documents in the relevant collections.

What is a Keywords search?

The legal issues dealt with in each case are summarised in a list of Keywords, chosen from a thesaurus of terms taken (in most cases) directly from the text of the European Convention on Human Rights and additional Protocols. Searching with these keywords will enable you to find a group of documents with similar legal content.

What is a Strasbourg case-law search?

Use the Strasbourg case-law field to search for judgments and decisions in which a particular Court or former Commission case has been cited.
The Court's reasoning is based on the reasoning given in earlier judgments and decisions.
Example: typing ‘Hatton' or ‘36022/97' in this field will return all cases in which the Hatton v. United Kingdom judgment was cited.

Where can I find the Case Details?

The Case Details can be opened from the results list by clicking on Case Details.
It is also available via the Case Details tab on the Html version of the document. 

Which Boolean operator is used between advanced search fields?

The default operator used in the Hudoc database is AND, so field searches are cumulative.
If you use more than one field, such as Text, Date and Keywords, your search will cover the text and the date and the keywords.
All filters except for Language, Importance and Date enable you to use the Boolean operators AND and OR so you can search under more than one category for the same filter.
By default the Boolean operator is OR.