European Court of Human Rights: Protocol 14bis enters into force

Strasbourg, 30.09.2009 – Protocol No. 14bis to the European Convention on Human Rights, which aims to improve the capacity of the European Court of Human Rights to process the increasing number of applications before it, enters into force on 1 October.

The protocol, which includes two specific procedures related to the number of judges that examine applications and decide on their admissibility and merits, will be applied as a temporary measure until Protocol 14 enters into force.

So far, seven states have ratified Protocol 14bis (Denmark, Georgia, Iceland, Ireland, Monaco, Norway and Slovenia) and seven others have signed it, prior to ratification (Austria, France, Luxembourg, Romania, San Marino, Spain, and the “former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”).

Using an alternative legal basis, nine states have made a declaration accepting that the corresponding procedures found in Protocol 14 be provisionally applied to the applications filed against them: Albania, Belgium, Estonia, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Switzerland and United Kingdom.

Since 1 July, the Court has already delivered 727 decisions applying these new procedures among the states that have accepted immediate application. 369 applications concerned Germany, 131 the United Kingdom, 82 Switzerland, 57 the Netherlands, 38 Estonia, 17 Norway, 14, Ireland, 9 Luxemburg, 7 Denmark and 3 Liechtenstein.

Protocol 14bis

Protocol 14bis, which was adopted by the Committee of Ministers in Madrid on 12 May, introduces two procedures aimed to increase the capacity of the Court to process applications filed against those states that ratify it:

·               A single judge is able to reject plainly inadmissible applications. Previously, this required a decision by a committee of three judges.

·               A three judge committee may declare applications admissible and decide on their merits in clearly well-founded cases and those in which there is a well-established case law, which are called repetitive cases. Previously, these cases were handled by chambers of seven judges or the Grand Chamber (17 judges).

These procedures are also contained in Protocol 14, which has not yet entered into force because it needs ratification by all Council of Europe member states. All member states but the Russian Federation have ratified it.

Press contact: Jaime Rodriguez, + 33 (0) 3 90 21 47 04,

ECHR press contact: Stefano Piedimonte, + 33 (0)3 90 21 42 04