The European Court of Human Rights may receive applications from any person, non-governmental organization or group of individuals claiming to be the victim of a violation by the country of their residence of their rights set forth in the European Convention on Human Rights or the protocols thereto.
The European Court of Human Rights may only deal with the matter after all domestic remedies have been exhausted.
The main criterion by which the European Court of Human Rights is guided by determining what domestic remedies must be exhausted is the effectiveness.
Domestic remedies meet the requirement of the effectiveness if:
- an applicant is able to institute court proceedings without assistance;
- his (her) case is examined on the merits;
- an applicant can receive a judgment which will determine his (her) rights, duties and legal status, i.e. the applicant has a potential feasibility of success by applying to the indicated organ.
The European Court of Human Rights declared that applicants lodging complaints against the Russian Federation should use only two judicial instances — the first and the cassation ones, but their use is obligatory. In any case applicants ought to exhaust the appealing to the supervisory body at the same time with the applying to the European Court of Human Rights, since the competences of the supervisory instance and of the European Court are different.
The European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms provides for a temporal restriction, according to which an application to the European Court of Human Rights should be lodged within a period of six months.
The six-month term is calculated beginning from the day on which the final decision was taken or from the date when human rights were violated, or from the date when a person got to know about such a violation.
The application to the European Court of Human Rights should not be anonymous. The Court should know who exactly is applying in the connection with the violation of his (her) rights. The form for applying to the European Court includes columns devoted to the identification of the applicant: his (her) surname, name, patronymic, place of residence, birthday and birthplace, address, kind of activity etc.
If an applicant has every reason to suppose that the Government can use the data of the application in order to worsen his (her) position, he (she) may apply to the President of the European Court with a request not to divulge his (her) data and not to report them to the Government. In this case the applicant is indicated with some letter in all documents of the Court.
One of the criteria of the admissibility is the recurrence of the application.
The European Court of Human Rights will not examine an application which has already been a matter of its examination, as well as has already been submitted to another procedure of international investigation or settlement, for example, the UN Committee on Human Rights.
The recurrence of the application means that the application is lodged by the same person versus the same state on the same circumstances which have already been examined both on admissibility and on the merits.
The European Court of Human Right shall declare inadmissible any application in connection with the abuse of the right of application when:
- an applicant who applied to the European Court of Human Rights undertakes an engagement to support his application for a period of the whole examination. If he does not reply to inquiries of the Secretariat within the reasonable time, does not furnish new information of the movement of his case in internal procedures or provides false information, that means that he abuses his right of application to the European Court.
- an applicant should be correct in his application to international and legal instances and not commit any insulting utterances concerning the state as a whole, as well as about individual officials, commercial firms, persons, non-governmental organizations and so on. The nonobservance of this rule is also an abuse of the right of application and can lead to the declaration of the application inadmissible.