On this page you will find the ECHR application form and also the most comprehensive practical guide for correctly filling in an application before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
You should be aware, however, that making an application to the ECHR independently (without a lawyer), or with non-specialized assistance, can be very risky.
In fact, in recent years 98% of the applications lodged with the Strasbourg Court have been declared inadmissible. Therefore, the Court has not even examined the complaints raised because the application was not complete or duly drafted. Almost all applications, in fact, do not pass the administrative admissibility filter because they are incomplete and not accurately filled in.
I am Gianluca Piemonte, an Italian lawyer specialized in applications to the European Court of Human Rights. I have lodged many applications before the ECHR against Italy and other States. In fact, Italy is one of the countries with the greatest number of applications and, as a result, we Italian lawyers are some of the most specialized.
There are many misconceptions about the obligation to be assisted by a lawyer.
Cases can initially be brought before the ECHR without the assistance of a lawyer. However, after the transmission to the Italian State, the assistance of a lawyer becomes mandatory. For this reason, it is advisable to be assisted by a lawyer right from the beginning in drafting the application. If you look for a lawyer later on, you will not save money, because the fees for examining the case will be the same and, in addition, you will have risked not getting past the initial filter for having tried to apply to the ECHR by yourself…
You can tell me about your case via my CONTACT US page.
Let’s start with the first rule: it is necessary to fill in the ECHR application form directly in PDF format. The official ECHR application form on the official website of the European Court of Human Rights (here is the link to download the form in PDF format).
This means that:
- a form in Word format does not exist
- it is not possible to complete the form by hand
Moreover, the application to the ECHR must be filled in in strict compliance to the provisions of Rule 47 of the Rules of Court.
A – Data of the applicant to the ECHR
The data of the applicant to the European Court of Human Rights who is a physical person (private individual) must be entered in section A1. It is necessary to enter the personal data (name, surname, date of birth, etc.) and the contact details (address, telephone, e-mail, etc.) of the applicant.
Instead, if the applicant is a legal entity (company, association, organization, etc.), the data must be entered in section A2. Also in this case, it is necessary to enter the details of the legal entity (registered office, VAT number, date of incorporation, etc.).
Grouped applications to the ECHR with multiple applicants
If the application is lodged on behalf of two or more applicants (so-called grouped application), you have to distinguish whether it is based:
- on the same facts, in which case you should add a separate sheet for each additional applicant, in order to provide the necessary information, and number the applicants
- on different facts, in which case you should send to the Strasbourg Court a separate ad hoc ECHR application form for each applicant, attaching the relevant documentation. It is necessary to indicate the applicants in numerical order
Where there are more than 5 applicants, the representative should send to Strasbourg:
- the application forms
- the relevant documents for each application
- a summary table in EXCEL format to be completed according to the Court’s instructions. Lawyers should send this EXCEL table on a CD-ROM or pen drive
Failure to comply with the requirements and formalities set out by the Court could result in the inadmissibility of the application and the destruction of all documents sent. Therefore, the Court will not examine the merits of the case.
B – State against which the application is directed
Section B deals with the State allegedly responsible for the violation of rights set out in the Convention or in one of its Protocols.
It is possible to tick more than one State.
C – Representative of an individual applicant
An application to the ECHR can be lodged by:
- the applicant personally, in which case it is not necessary to fill in section C, but it is possible to move on directly to section E
- a non-lawyer representative (for example, a parent of a minor child, a guardian, a relative or acquaintance of a detainee who is not in a position to sign, etc.); in this case it is necessary to fill in section C1
- a lawyer, in which case section C2 should be completed
At the start of the procedure, you are not obliged to be assisted by a lawyer. But if the application is declared admissible and the Court examines the merits of the case, then a lawyer must be appointed. Therefore, it is advisable to use the services of a lawyer right from the beginning in order to be represented by a legal expert.
The applicant must empower the representative to act on his or her behalf in section C3, by signing in original at box no. 33. In turn, the representative must accept the commission, by signing in original at box no. 35.
Both the applicant and the representative must indicate the date of their signature.
Do not attach a separate authority form, as is the case in Italian proceedings. Otherwise, you risk not being considered as the representative of the applicant and the Registry of the ECHR may correspond only with the applicant. In fact, the lawyer’s signature does not have the function of certifying the signature of the client-applicant, but only of accepting the commission.
ECHR Authority Form
A separate authority form is accepted by the Court only if the applicant:
- was not represented by a lawyer at the time the application was completed and posted, and the applicant wants to appoint a lawyer at a later stage
- wants to appoint a different lawyer than the one indicated on the application form already sent to the Court
Electronic communication between the representative and the Court
If the application is declared admissible, the applicant’s lawyer may use the eComm platform for electronic communications.
D – Representative of an organization
If the applicant is an organization (such as a company), it must be represented by:
- a representative of the organization, such as a director, a chairperson, etc. .Therefore, box D1 must always be completed. The representative’s entitlement to bring the case on behalf of the organization should be documented by means of an extract of the chamber of commerce register, a notarized authorization, etc., depending on the practice in the country concerned.
If the organization is represented by a lawyer, also box D2 must be filled in. Again, it is necessary that the representative and the lawyer sign in original the authority section.
Subject matter of the application
Sections E, F, and G are the core sections of the application to the European Court of Human Rights.
E – Statement of the facts
Section E requires a concise, clear and chronological statement of facts. For each complaint or matter, there should be a separate statement of facts in chronological order. The applicant should indicate the documents supporting the complaints raised (e.g., judgments, medical reports, expert testimonies, witness statements, documents of title to property, reports of periods spent in custody, etc.).
If necessary, a separate document (up to 20 pages) may be attached to the application to set forth the facts in greater details. However, you should not continue your arguments in the separate document, but merely develop the arguments already raised. All facts must be summarized in the ECHR application form because new complaints raised in the separate document will not be examined.
F – Statement of alleged violations of the Convention and Protocols
Section F, as shown in the ECHR application facsimile, provides 2 columns to indicate:
- the provision of the Convention or Protocols that the applicant claims has been infringed. Obviously, it is possible to indicate more than one provision
- a brief explanation as to why the provision has been infringed.
Article 6, § 1 of the Convention – The duration of the ordinary civil proceedings concerning the claim for compensation for medical malpractice was excessive, since the proceedings lasted longer than a reasonable period. In fact, the writ of summons of the first instance proceedings before the Court of __ was served on ____ and the Court of Cassation delivered its final judgement on ____
G – Compliance with the admissibility criteria of the application
Section G requires the applicant to prove, for each complaint raised:
- the exhaustion of domestic remedies, by indicating all the remedies used at national level and the judgments delivered, up to the final one. For each of these judgments, it is necessary to specify the date of the final decision, the judicial body that issued it and the nature of the decision.
- that the application has been posted within 4 months of the final decision
It is necessary to attach copy of all:
- decisions issued, from the lowest to the highest (generally from the proceedings at first instance to the Cassation); the copies must indicate the date on which the decision was filed
- remedies used for each decision (for example writs of summons, petitions, motions etc.).
If necessary, you must prove that the final decision was served on the applicant or communicated to the same at a later date than the date of filing indicated in the decision.
Where no appropriate remedies are available, it is necessary to submit evidence of the date of the act or decision.
Information concerning other international proceedings
Section H should be completed only if the applicant has raised the same complaint in other international applications. For example, before the UN Human Rights Committee.
Or if the same applicant has already lodged other applications before the ECHR of Strasbourg. This allows the Registry to file the applications under the applicant’s name, for ease of management.
I – List of accompanying documents
Section I is seen as crucial for the Registry of the ECHR, because one must:
- arrange the documents in order by date and by set of proceedings
- number the pages consecutively
- not staple, bind, or tape the documents
Please remember to attach only copies, not originals, because no document will ever be returned by the Registry.
Signing of the application and confirmation of correspondent
The final part of the application must be signed in original by all the applicants or by their authorized representative.
In addition, it is necessary to designate only one correspondent to receive communications from the Registry of the ECHR. In case of ECHR applications lodged by an international lawyer, the latter is always indicated in the corresponding box.
Conclusions on the ECHR application form
On this page you have discovered how to download an ECHR application form and how to complete it.
Therefore, we focused on the “container” and not on the “content,” which is the most important part.
In fact, the part regarding the subject matter of the application (sections E, F and G) must indicate the alleged infringements but it is necessary to provide persuasive arguments to convince the Court to ascertain the real violation. In order to draft a successful application, it is always necessary to refer to other judgments of the ECHR case law, often in French or English.
As I already outlined, you can draft an application without a lawyer, but at a later stage it becomes mandatory to have an international lawyer. If you expect to save money by appointing a lawyer later on, you are wrong. The fees will be the same, because the lawyer will still have to examine the case and to handle it as a matter of urgency, because of the short time-limits fixed.
As I mentioned, 98% of ECHR applications are declared inadmissible at the administrative stage. This means that the Court dismisses the case without even examining the merits because the application is not complete.
I am an Italian lawyer specialized in ECHR applications and I can help you to lodge an application with the European Court of Human Rights against any State which is a member of the Council of Europe. This way, I can raise before the Strasbourg Court the complaints you believe you have been a victim of.
Assistance will cover:
- the evaluation of the case and of the claim for damages
- drafting the application on the basis of precedent decisions of the Court and domestic and international case law
- drafting written observations in reply to the Italian State’s defence
- correspondence with the Registry in Strasbourg (both in French and English)
- representation during the whole procedure in Strasbourg, until the possible judgment
I have already helped many other people and I would be glad to help you too.
FOR MORE INFORMATION on
- Who can logde an application with the ECHR?
- Which is the time-limit for lodging the application?
- What documents should be attached?
- Which are the 7 most common mistakes?
you can read my other article Appeal to the European Court of Human Rights: 21 Useful Information
Are you a lawyer too? We can collaborate, as I have already done with many other colleagues who are Court of Cassation lawyers, criminal lawyers or administrative lawyers. The mistake made by many colleagues, in fact, is to apply to the ECHR as if the Court were a fourth instance court, namely in the most erroneous way.