European court of human rights

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Title

The Council of Europe


Oxford University Press


School of Business and Law




Lambert-Abdelgawad, E. (2017). European court of human rights. In S. Schmahl & M. Breuer (Eds.), The Council of Europe: Its Laws and Policies (pp. 227-268). Oxford University Press. Available here


The ECtHR has probably become the most famous, important but at the same time criticised organ of the CoE. Its importance and role have considerably increased throughout the years as a consequence of the enlargement of the Member States parties to the CoE. At the same time, the enlargement, which is one of the main reasons for the Court’s currently being overwhelmed, has put more pressure on the Court and so has weakened the judicial organ. Consequently, it has opened the path for many reflections (which continue) and a certain number of reforms (some entered into force, others recently adopted) in order to adapt the Court to its new environment. If the backlog of the Court has never been experienced before by another supranational tribunal, it is also true that this is the first time a supranational human rights tribunal covers the jurisdiction of forty-seven States and more than 820 million citizens (not counting legal entities) which respectively have the right to send interstate and individual applications to it. We will reflect on the origin and development of the Court, then concentrate on its activities and case law as well as on the consequences of its judgments.

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