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Find cases: European Court of Human Rights

This guide suggests where to look for Irish and European cases


Established in 1959, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is an international court which "rules on individual or state applications alleging violations of the civil and political rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights" (Council of Europe 2016). Judgments made by the Court are binding for the countries concerned.

The Convention for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms (an international treaty) was signed by member states of the Council of Europe in 1950. Below is a link to the Convention in English in PDF. Note: Only English and French versions are considered authentic (Council of Europe 2016)

The text to the European Convention of Human Rights is available on the European Court of Human Rights website

Judges of the Court elected by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe are distributed between five administrative sections, to which cases are assigned. Chambers are formed in each of the five sections comprising the President of the section, a National Judge, and five other judges. Chambers may refer cases to the Grand Chamber, or Chambers may choose to relinquish a case to the Grand Chamber. Judges in the European Court of Human Rights are wholly independent and impartial. 

HUDOC database

The HUDOC database is freely available online and provides access to the full text of case law of the European Court of Human Rights. Search HUDOC for judgments and decisions. The videos below will show you how to carry out simple (1) and advanced (2) searches in HUDOC.

Citing European cases

From the OSCOLA Ireland website: See chapter 2.6.1 of the OSCOLA Ireland guide (2nd ed.) for rules on citing judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, and decisions and reports of the European Commission on Human Rights (Pg. 22) or see the quick reference guide on the same page. 

Alternatively, see chapter 2.7 of the OSCOLA guide (4th ed.) (Pg. 31-32) available on the Oscola UK website.

Quick links