Time limit for lodging an application before the European Court of Human Rights to be reduced to four months

The time limit for lodging an application before the European Court of Human Rights will be reduced from the current six months to four months on 1 February 2022.

The process for lodging an application before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg will be changed in certain respects as of 1 February 2022. As regards applicants, the most significant change is the reduction of the period for submitting an application. The time limit within which the Court must receive an application after the final domestic decision will be reduced from six to four months. However, the shorter application period will not apply to cases where the final domestic decision was given before 1 August 2021.

The change is due to the transitional provision laid down in Protocol No. 15 amending the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, having entered into force on 1 August 2021, under which the four-month period for submitting an application to the Court shall only apply as of 1 February 2022. 

Another major change affecting applicants concerns the admissibility criteria for a human rights application at the Court with regard to ‘insignificant disadvantage’. Following this change that entered into force on 1 August 2021, cases where the applicant has not suffered a significant disadvantage will no longer be admitted, even if the alleged human rights violation had not been duly considered by a domestic court.  Consequently, the European Court of Human Rights will no longer process matters that can be characterised as insignificant.

The change underlines the subsidiarity of the application mechanism under the Convention in relation to applying the Convention at national level. Alleged human rights violations must primarily be considered before national courts.

 

Inquiries:

Krista Oinonen, Director, Unit for Human Rights Courts and Conventions, Agent of the Finnish Government before the European Court of Human Rights, tel. + 358 295 351 172

Mia Spolander, Legal Counsellor, Unit for Human Rights Courts and Conventions, tel. +358 295 350 666

The Foreign Ministry’s email addresses are in the format [email protected]