Lecturer: Miljen Matijašević
e-mail: [email protected]
G10, room 6, Tue 11:30-12:30
Session 4
Revision of the last session
The Council of Europe
The European Court of Human Rights
Case Study
The Constitution / Judiciary in
the Republic of Croatia
How do we define a constitution?
When was the Croatian Constitution adopted
and how many times has it been amended?
According to the Constitution, what sort of state
is the Republic of Croatia?
What are some of the fundamental features of
the RC, laid down in the basic provisions of the
Name some basic rights provided for in the C.?
What government institutions are envisaged in
the Constitution?
What do you know about the Constitutional
What do you know about the 2010 amendments
to the Constitution?
Describe the court network of the RC!
How many Supreme Court judges are there
and how is the court organised?
What do municipal and county courts deal
Do county courts have first instance
What is the jurisdiction of commercial
Who appoints judges in Croatia?
What are the mandatory requirements for
judicial office?
International association comprising 47 member
countries, founded in 1949
Observer countries: The Holy See, the USA,
Canada, Japan, Mexico
Applicant country: Belarus
Located in Strasbourg
Its aim is to develop and promote democratic
principles based on the European Convention of
Human Rights (key document of the COE) and
other reference texts on the protection of
to protect human rights, pluralist democracy and the rule of law;
to promote awareness and encourage the development of Europe's
cultural identity and diversity;
to find common solutions to the challenges facing European society:
such as discrimination against minorities, xenophobia, intolerance,
bioethics and cloning, terrorism, trafficking in human beings,
organised crime and corruption, cybercrime, violence against children;
to consolidate democratic stability in Europe by backing political,
legislative and constitutional reform.
Idea of a united Europe was born after WW2,
when the continent was devastated by the war,
and when there was a shared strong desire for
the horrors of war never to happen again
First suggested by Winston Churchill in his
speech in Zürich in 1946, when he suggested
building ‘a kind of United States of Europe’
Various initiatives were brought together into
the International Committee of the Movements
for European Unity
It organised the Hague Congress (7 May 1948),
remembered as "The Congress of Europe".
The Hague Congress (1948)
Over 1,000 delegates from 20 countries
Adopted a series of resolutions which lay
the foundations of the Council of Europe:
creation of an economic and political union to
guarantee security, economic independence and
social progress
the establishment of a consultative assembly
elected by national parliaments
the drafting of a European charter of human
rights and the setting up of a court to enforce
its decisions
Two ideas for realization of the principles: a
federative union of states (supported by
Belgium and France), and a form of
intergovernmental co-operation (preferred
by the UK)
Compromise - the Council of Europe consisting
a committee of foreign ministers, to meet in private (with
decision-making powers)
a consultative body (members chosen by parliaments), to
meet in public
Statute of the Council signed in 1949 by 10
founding countries in London
Soon followed by the signing of the
European Convention on Human Rights,
which entered into force in 1953
References to the economic and political
union declared at the Hague Congress were
dropped in the Statute
This gave rise to the development of
initiatives which led to the formation of the
European Communities
More countries joined in the
following decades
1990s were marked by the joining of
Eastern European states, including
former Soviet states and Croatia
Today’s institutions of the COE:
Committee of Ministers
Parliamentary Assembly
Congress of Local and Regional
Secretary General
Official languages: English and
Unit 14
Set up under the European Convention on
Human Rights (a.k.a. Convention for the
Protection of Human Rights and
Fundamental Freedoms)
First public hearing took place in 1960
(Lawless v Ireland)
Instituted as a permanent court in 1998
The permanent judges now elected by the
Parliamentary Assembly
Direct access for 800 million European
There are 47 judges (equal to the number
of member countries), but there is no
nationality requirement
Judges supposed to be impartial, not
represent interests of their home country
Judges elected for a six-year term, but
may be re-elected until they reach the age
of 70
Plenary Court – elects office-holders, i.e.
The President, the two Vice-Presidents
and the Section Presidents (current
President: Jean-Paul Costa)
Each Section contains Chambers,
consisting of seven judges, who make
most judgements
Committees of three judges assess
applications and assess their admissibility
Recent change: admissibility can be
assessed by a single judge
The Grand Chamber (17 judges) deals with
cases that raise a serious question of
interpretation or application of the
Convention, or a serious issue of general
A Chamber may relinquish jurisdiction in a
case to the Grand Chamber at any stage in
the procedure before judgment, as long as
both parties consent.
Any Contracting State (State application) or
individual claiming to be a victim of a
violation of the Convention (individual
application) may lodge directly with the
Court in Strasbourg an application alleging
a breach by a Contracting State of one of
the Convention rights.
REQUIREMENT: the applicant must have
exhausted all available legal options in their
own country
the authority for the violations of
Convention rights in Croatia:
◦ the Constitutional Court of the RC
The procedure before the European Court
of Human Rights is adversarial and public. It
is largely a written procedure.
Hearings, which are held only in a very
small minority of cases, are public, unless
the Chamber/Grand Chamber decides
otherwise on account of exceptional
Individual applicants may present their own
cases, but they should be legally
represented once the application has been
communicated to the respondent
The Council of Europe has set up a legal aid
scheme for applicants who do not have
sufficient means.
Official languages: English and French, but
applications may be submitted in any of the
official languages of the Contracting States
Once the application has been declared
admissible, one of the Court’s official
languages must be used, unless the
President of the Chamber/Grand Chamber
authorises continued use of the language of
the application.
If a Committee decides by a unanimous
vote that an application is admissible, it is
referred to a Chamber
Application referred to the respondent
State, which is asked to address the issues
of admissibility and merits that arise, and
the applicants’ claims for just satisfaction
Parties also invited to settle
Chamber decides on admissibility and
merits by a majority vote
Dissenting opinions may be
appended to the judgement
A Chamber judgment becomes final
three months after its delivery.
Within that time, any party may
request that the case be referred to
the Grand Chamber if it raises a
serious question of interpretation or
application or a serious issue of
general importance.
If the parties declare that they will not
make such a request, the judgment
will become final immediately.
Judgements of the Grand Chamber are
Supervision of the execution of
judgements conducted by the
Committee of Ministers.
The State in breach of the Convention
must take appropriate remedial
measures to comply with the Court’s
Read more about the Council of Europe, the
Judgements available online
member country
applicant country
observer country
the rule of law
cultural identity and diversity
human trafficking
organised crime
intergovernmental co-operation
Committee of Ministers
Parliamentary Assembly
European Convention on Human Rights
Contracting State
the Grand Chamber
application (to the Court)
to assess admissibility
respondent state
dissenting opinion
final decision
ECHR: Medić v. Croatia
On 3 June 1994 the applicant applied for the
enforcement of a final judgment of the Omiš
Municipal Court ordering a certain N.B. to pay him a
sum of money. An enforcement order to that effect
was issued on 14 September 1994. The enforcement
order was to be carried out by selling a real estate
owned by N.B. at a public tender. On 26 March 1996
a certain M.B. objected to the enforcement
proceedings claiming that she was the co-owner of
the real estate in question. The Municipal Court
instructed M.B. to institute civil proceedings whereby
she would claim her ownership and consequently the
Municipal Court stayed the enforcement proceedings
pending the outcome of these civil proceedings.
N.B. and M.B. went on file lawsuits against the
applicant. A decision was reached in this civil
lawsuit by the Municipal Court, but was quashed
by the Split County Court in 2004 and the case
was remitted for retrial. The applicant lodged a
complaint to the Constitutional Court regarding
the length of enforcement proceedings. In 2006
the Constitutional Court ruled in the favour of
the applicant and awarded him HRK 7,800 in
compensation, and ordered the Split County
Court to accelerate proceedings relating to
The Split County Court instructed the Omiš
Municipality Court to resolve the civil lawsuit
filed by N.B. The Court dismissed the case
and reached a decision regarding
enforcement, which became final on 8
January 2008. However, the enforcement is
still pending. It had been 14 years since the
original decision on enforcement had been
reached (11 of which were after the RC
ratified the Convention).
Medić claimed HRK 510,542.80 of pecuniary
damage and EUR 16,000 of non-pecuniary
The ECHR granted him EUR 3,650 of nonpecuniary damage and EUR 550 for costs.

English for Law 1