Today, the Council of Europe's Department for the Execution of Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights has issued a new thematic factsheet on excessive formalism by courts. Here is a brief description:
''The European Court has underlined that the right of access to a court is an inherent aspect of the safeguards enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights, referring to the principles of the rule of law and the avoidance of arbitrary power which underlie much of the Convention. Possible limitations to the above right must not restrict the access left to the individual in such a way or to such an extent that the very essence of the right be impaired. Thus, the European Court has noted that, when applying procedural rules, the courts must avoid excessive formalism that would impair the fairness of the proceedings.
The new Thematic Factsheet issued today by the Execution Department provides examples of general and individual measures reported by States in the context of the execution of the European Court’s judgments focusing on the following specific issues: excessively formalistic rules of procedure; excessively formalistic interpretation of procedural requirements; assessment by courts of statutes of limitation; payment of court fees; clerical errors; and excessively formalistic decisions concerning detention.''