The Admissibility of Human Rights Petitions

The Case Law of the European Commission of Human Rights and the Human Rights Committee


Both global and regional human rights treaties have established international institutions offering recourse if a State party fails to comply with its obligations under the treaty.
Many of these institutions have jurisdiction to consider complaints brought by individuals claiming that a State party has violated the rights enumerated in the treaty. However, these same institutions appear no longer merely to confine themselves to considering individual petitions. Due to the growing number of complaints, they have become increasingly preoccupied with managing their workload.
The present volume focuses attention on two international institutions, one regional (the European Commission on Human Rights), and one global (the Human Rights Committee). It thoroughly examines the admissibility conditions of both the Commission and the Court by means of their case law and discusses possible changes which might reduce this case load.
Chapter 2 discusses the procedural aspects of both systems, in particular, the division of labour and the various stages of the proceedings. Chapters 3-9 explore the case law of both organs concerning admissibility conditions, and such topics as competence ratione personae (including standing, the victim requirement and State responsibility), competence ratione temporis, competence ratione materiae, inadmissibility pendente lite and the exhaustion of local remedies.

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'...a very useful and reliable source for students, practitioners and others interested in the international protection of human rights.'
Nordic Journal of International Law (1996).
1: Introduction.
The Growing Caseload.
1.2. Possible Ways to Deal with the Caseload.
1.3. The Structure of the Present Study.
2: Procedure.
Consideration of Communications by the HRC.
2.2. Examination of Applications by the European Commission.
2.3. Appraisal.
3: Competence rationae personae.
Standing: Individuals, Groups and Organisations.
3.2. Standing: the Victim Requirement.
3.3. Third Party Involvement.
3.4. State Responsibility.
3.5. Appraisal.
4: Competence rationae temporis.
4.2. Events Prior to the Entry into Force of the Treaty.
4.3. Continuing Violation.
4.4. The Retroactive Effect of Jurisdictional Clauses.
4.5. Appraisal.
5: Inadmissibility Related to the Merits.
5.1. Introduction.
5.2. Incompatible ratione materiae.
5.3. The Allegations are not Substantiated.
5.4. No Appearance of a Violation.
5.5. No Fourth Instance.
5.6. Appraisal.
6: Anonymous and Abusive Complaints.
Anonymous Complaints.
6.2. An Abuse of the Right of Submission.
6.3. Appraisal.
7: Simultaneous Examination under Another International Procedure.
The HRC.
7.2. The Commission.
7.3. Appraisal.
8: Exhaustion of Domestic Remedies.
8.2. The Nature of the Remedies which Have to be Exhausted.
8.3. The Way in which Remedies Have to be Exhausted.
8.4. Special Circumstances which might Absolve the Petitioner from Exhausting the Domestic Remedies.
8.5. The Six Months Rule.
8.6. Appraisal.
9: Conclusions. 9.1. The Results of the Research.
9.2. The Way Forward.
9.3. Discretionary Review: Deciding which Cases to Decide. Selected Bibliography. Index.
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