Friday 6 June 2008

Bumpy Road to Strasbourg

The road to the Court in Strasbourg can be long and bumpy. And some applications are doomed to fail from the start. One needs only to think of the application filed by a computer animation company a few years ago, one of whose complaints was that the very need to file an application amounted to forced labour contrary to Article 4 of the Convention! Unsurprisingly, that part of the application was dismissed by the Court as it did not seem to disclose any appearance of a violation. For those wishing to come to Strasbourg better prepared - or with less humour - a good starting point is the Court's own webpage on the do's and don'ts of applying. Handy notes in all the main languages of the state parties are also available here. For those wishing to come even better prepared there is a number of very useful books. Karen Reed has written a clear volume on the in's and outs of Court proceedings: A Practitioner's Guide to the European Convention on Human Rights (Sweet and Maxwell, 3rd ed.,2008), but its price is rather high (368 USD). Very practical, but a bit older is: Philip Leach, Taking a Case to the European Court of Human Rights (OUP, 2nd ed., 2005). And a very recent one (2008), but in Dutch, written by my former colleagues from Leiden University: T. Barkhuysen, M.L. van Emmerik and E.R. Rieter, Procederen over mensenrechten onder EVRM, IVBPR e.a. VN-verdragen (Ars Aequi, 2nd rev. ed.).