ECtHR: Exceptional Measures due to the Global Health Crisis
On 27 March 2020, the ECtHR provided insight into its activities during the unprecedented global health crisis. Since 16 March 2020, the Court has taken a number of exceptional measures announced in an earlier press release. Its essential activities, including the registering of incoming applications, their allocation to the relevant judicial formations, and especially the handling of priority cases have been principally maintained. As a general rule, teleworking and electronic communication was put in place and the premises of the Court are not accessible for the public.
Procedures were adopted for the examination of requests for interim measures under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, when there is an imminent risk of irreversible harm. The hearings scheduled for March and April were cancelled. At the same time, making use of the written procedure, the Grand Chamber has been able to continue work on some pending cases. As an exception, the six-month time limit for the lodging of applications under Article 35 of the ECHR was suspended for a one-month period, while all time limits allotted in proceedings pending at the time were also suspended for one month. On 9 April 2020, the Court announced that these deadlines had again been extended by another two months to 15 June 2020. This does not apply to the three-month period under Article 43 of the Convention for parties to file a request for referral to the Grand Chamber.
The Court decided not to notify any further judgments and decisions from 26 March 2020 on until normal activity resumes. With the exception of the Grand Chamber and particularly urgent cases, the Court will continue to adopt judgments and decisions but will postpone their delivery until then.