New Rule on Pilot-Judgment Procedure Clarifies Court’s Handling of Systemic Issues

24 March 2011 – Strasbourg

The European Court of Human Rights had announced a new rule (Rule 61), which clarifies and codifies the Court’s existing “pilot-judgment procedure.” This procedure was developed by the Court over the past few years to assist in dealing with the massive influx of applications concerning similar issues – also known as “systemic issues” – arising from non-conformity of member States’ domestic laws with provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights.

In the final declaration of the February 2010 Interlaken Conference on the future of the Court, the Court was requested to “develop clear and predictable standards for the pilot judgment procedure as regards selection of applications, the procedure to be followed, and the treatment of adjourned cases.” The new rule establishes a clear regulatory framework for such pilot judgments. 

As explained in the Court’s press release, the pilot procedure has three aims: