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The European Court of Human Rights: functioning, procedure for applying to the Court and its case-law

The European Court of Human Rights: functioning, procedure for applying to the Court and its case-law

Start date: 2nd November 2016

End date: 13th December 2017

Limited places: 30

Price: From 90 Euros

The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and its judicial body the European Court of Human Rights both constitute fundamental tools in cases of human rights violations. This protection is achieved through a judicial process at supranational level, but also, thanks to the case-law it generates, this can later be applied at national level. However, the biggest challenge this system of human rights protection presents is the lack of general awareness of the Convention, the procedural tools to access it and the conditions for applying before the ECtHR.

The usefulness, effectiveness and potential of the ECtHR as a protection mechanism is therefore extensive but, are we sufficiently aware of the possibilities it offers? In which cases can we use the ECtHR as a mechanism for protection? What is the procedure for lodging a complete and valid application with this international court?

This is a course offered by the IDHC with the collaboration of the Open Society Foundations aimed at people interested in learning and/or using the European system for the protection of human rights. We will analyse the rights recognised at the European level through the European Convention on Human Rights, and the case-law of the ECtHR. In addition, we will also study the conditions to present valid applications before the ECtHR.

Course offered in English


General price: 150€

Reduced price: for students that have enrolled to the course "Introduction to international protection of human rights" (1st or 2nd edition): 90€


Unit 1: Framework of the European system of human rights: The Convention and the European Court of Human Rights

2 – 13 November | Núria Saura

In this first Unit the general framework of the European system of human rights from a normative and institutional angle will be analysed. The origins and aspects of the Council of Europe will also be covered. This European organisation is a key cornerstone of the European system of human rights. After which, we will delve in the origins and development of this European structure, from a normative angle: the European Convention on Human Rights; from a procedural angle: the European Court of Human Rights; and from a historical and contemporary angle.

  • Human rights regionalism in Europe: the Council of Europe
  • The European Convention on Human Rights: general aspects
  • The European Court of Human Rights: origins and development


Unit 2: Proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights: the life of an application

14 – 24 November | Guillem Cano

The second Unit will focus on individual applications lodged before the European Court of Human Rights. Firstly, the scope of the jurisdiction of the Court as regards individual applications. Subsequently, we will review the different admissibility criteria of said applications, and finally, the procedure before the ECtHR and the effects of its judgments.

  • The Court’s jurisdiction: individual application
  • Admissibility Criteria of individual applications
  • Proceedings and judgments
  • Nature, effects and execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights


Unit 3: Practical exercise – Lodging an application with the ECtHR

25 November – 2 December | Núria Saura and Guillem Cano

The practical exercise will consist in drafting an individual application based on a hypothetical case lodged before the ECtHR.


Address to

  • Legal practitioners: members of judicial bodies, public prosecutors and lawyers
  • Human rights defenders; workers and other members of human rights organisations and other civil societies’ organisations
  • Law students
  • Jurists


NÚRIA SAURA, is a lecturer of Constitutional Law at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. Her areas of research include multilevel protection of human rights, ECHR, International Humanitarian Law and United Nations. She is a researcher of the  Consolidated Research Group on European Constitutional Law and Fundamental Rights and she has several publications in the field of human rights. She worked also as consultant on fundamental rights in European projects for the European Commission and the European Parliament.

GUILLEM CANO, lawyer at the Research Division and the Department of the Juriscounsult of the European Court of Human Rights, where he conducts reports on the Court’s case-law, comparative and international law for cases before the ECtHR. He also drafts judgments and decisions in cases lodged with the ECtHR against Spain and other States. He has been an International Public Law and International Relations professor at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. In addition, he has published numerous articles on human rights and the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights. He is member of the directive board of the IDHC.


Related themes

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1.- Programme (*.pdf) 367,27 KB

2.- Academic dossier (*.pdf) 558,84 KB


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