Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

European Court of Human Rights explained

European Court of Human Rights explainedWhat is the European Court of Human Rights? And what does it do? Read on to find out.

What is the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)?

The ECHR is based in Strasbourg, France. It was in set up in 1959 after the adoption of the European Convention on Human Rights in 1950 by the Council of Europe.

The Council of Europe, also based in Strasbourg, is made up of 47 European countries, including the UK, and virtually covers the whole of Europe.

It differs from the European Union as it focuses on making sure all European countries use the Convention to protect the rights of their citizens.

What types of cases are heard at the ECHR?

All members of the Council of Europe adopt the Convention and it is the responsibility of each member to protect the human rights of their citizens.

For example, if a UK citizen finds their human rights haven’t been protected by their country they can bring their complaint to the ECHR (but only after they’ve had their case heard in the UK courts).

Each year over 30,000 individuals apply to the ECHR directly to have their cases heard.

What rights do people tend to make complaints about?

64% of the violations found by the ECHR concern either the right to a fair hearing (Article 6 of the Convention) or protection of property (Article 1 of Protocol No. 1).

In about 8% of cases, the ECHR has found a serious violation of the Convention regarding the right to life and prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment (Articles 2 and 3 of the Convention).

Example cases

Related links