The European Court of Human Rights

The European Court of Human Rights examines complaints on the violation of the rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights and its Protocols. A person under the jurisdiction of the Polish State, a foreigner too, may lodge an application alleging the violation of the rights and guarantees set out in the Convention and the Protocols ratified by the Polish State.

The Court does not act as a court of appeal to decisions of national courts. It only examines applications on the infringement of the rights guaranteed by the Convention and the Protocols. Thus, the Court cannot annul or revise the decisions made by a national organ or intervene at the national authorities on behalf of the complainant.

The person lodging an application must have directly and personally been the victim of the violation he/ she is alleging.

You can complain against the acts or omissions of public authorities concerned (e.g. a court or an administrative authority). The Court cannot deal with complaints against individuals or private institutions.

Your application will not be accepted by the Court if you lodge it after the period of six months from the date of the final decision at domestic level. It is crucial for the application to be accepted that you must have used all the remedies in the State concerned that might have been able to redress the situation you are complaining about.

You may write in one of the Court’s official languages (English and French). The application should be sent in writing by post. If you lodge your application by e-mail, you must also confirm it by post.

Your application must contain:

  • a brief summary of the facts;
  • a summary of the nature of your complaints;
  • an indication of the Convention rights you think have been infringed;
  • the remedies you have already used;
  • copies of the decisions given in your case by all the public authorities concerned;
  • your signature as the applicant, or your representative’s signature.

Your case will be dealt with free of charge. As the proceedings are initially in writing, there is no point in coming to the Court in person. You will automatically be informed of any decision taken by the Court. Yet you must be aware of the fact that the procedure is time-consuming and it may take up to several years.

The application form should be sent to the following address:

The Registrar
European Court of Human Rights
Council of Europe
F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex

The application form can be found here.