The European Strategic Litigation Programme (ESLP)

The European Strategic Litigation Programme will follow a global strategic litigation approach. Considering the significant number of systemic Human Rights violations committed in Europe, the HRL Foundation believes that the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), and in particular its ability to deliver pilot judgments , is a crucial tool to address structural deficiencies existing at national levels.

In the implementation of this programme, the HRL Foundation will:

a) Strategic litigation

  • Proactively look for systemic Human Rights violations committed by member states of the Council of Europe;
  • Contact local NGOs and other human rights actors who are active in the field concerned by the systemic violations identified in order to exchange information and establish partnerships;
  • Elaborate a global litigation strategy, in collaboration with the local partners, notably:
    • strategic choice of the case(s) that will be brought to Court,
    • legal analysis of the case(s) chosen in the light of the ECHR and ECtHR’s case-law,
    • determine the most effective national proceedings to bring the complaint(s),
    • determine and address the existing barriers to the litigation process (i.e. bring expertise support/ financial support/ linguistic support …)
  • Implement the litigation strategy :
    • At national level;
    • At European level: In the event the violations would not be remedied at the end of the national litigation process, the HRL Foundation will take over the case before the European Court of Human Rights. The aim will be to trigger pilot judgments that could effectively address the systemic problems at the roots of the violations of the Convention.

b) Follow up and monitoring

  • Monitor and advocate for the effective implementation of pilot judgments, for all the persons concerned ;
    • [1] In application of the Rules of Court, article 61. In a pilot judgment, the Court not only decides whether a violation of the ECHR occurred in a specific case but also identifies the systemic problem that is at the roots of the violation and gives the Government clear indications on the type of remedial measures needed to resolve it.

      [2] Today, the overwhelming majority of the applications before the ECtHR (more than 95%) are rejected without being examined on the merits for failure to satisfy one of the admissibility criteria laid down in the Convention. The high expertise of the HRL Foundation in litigating before the ECtHR will ensure the fulfilment of all admissibility requirements, as well as high chances of success of the cases before the ECtHR.

  • Monitor the ECtHR case-law and intervene, when deemed necessary, as a third party before the ECtHR, in order to ensure the development of good precedents.