ECtHR: The Functioning of the Court during the Period of Confinement
On 15 April 2020, the ECtHR published a press release regarding its functioning during the period of quarantine that has been imposed by French authorities. In order to comply with the measures adopted by the host State and with a view to pursuing its own policy as well as that of the CoE of seeking to protect its staff from contracting and potentially spreading COVID-19, the Court has taken a number of steps designed to minimise the physical presence of staff in the Human Rights Building (see also eucrim 1/2020, p. 30).
The great majority of staff can work remotely, but certain tasks require their presence. This applies in particular to the handling of urgent cases and applications for provisional measures, the processing of incoming mail and the maintenance of the IT service necessary to enable the Court to work from a distance, as far as possible. Certain tasks that cannot be carried out remotely but are not of critical urgency either were postponed for the period of confinement since they would have required increased physical presence. Accordingly, the following actions were carried out:
- Single judge decisions on inadmissibility continued to be taken, but the applicants were not informed until the end of the confinement period;
- Applications were not formally notified (communicated) to respondent States during the confinement period except for important and urgent cases;
- The Grand Chamber, Chambers and Committees continued to examine cases under a written procedure insofar as possible;
Decisions and judgments were signed only by the (Deputy) Section Registrar and were notified to the parties electronically (for Governments via the secure sites and for applicants via the eComms platform). Where applicants have not availed themselves of the eComms platform, the judgements or decisions were not notified to either party during the confinement period, with the exception of urgent cases. The judgements and decisions that were notified electronically were also published on HUDOC on the day of delivery.