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European Commission of Human Rights - Rules of Procedure

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Title II: The Functioning of the Commission

Chapter I: General Rules

Rule 15

1. The seat of the Commission shall be in Strasbourg.

2. The Commission may decide, at any stage of the examination of an application, that it is necessary that an investigation or any other of its functions be carried out elsewhere by it or one or more of its members.

Rule 16

1. The Commission shall meet during at least sixteen weeks in each year.

2. The Commission shall, at the last session of each year at the latest, fix its sessions for the following year. It shall meet at other times by decision of the President as circumstances may require. It shall also meet if at least one third of the members so request.

3. Members who are prevented by illness or other serious reason from attending all or part of any session of the Commission or from fulfilling any other duty shall, as soon as possible, give notice thereof to the Secretary who shall inform the President.

Rule 17

1. All deliberations of the Commission shall be and shall remain confidential. Only the Secretary to the Commission, members of its Secretariat, interpreters, and persons providing technical or secretarial assistance to the Commission may be present at its meetings, unless the Commission decides otherwise.

2. The contents of all case-files, including all pleadings, shall be confidential. However, the decisions of the Commission on admissibility shall be available to the public, provided that the name or other means of identification of an applicant shall not be indicated, unless the Commission decides otherwise.

3. At any stage in the examination of an application, the Secretary may communicate information to the press to an extent compatible with the legitimate interests of the parties and subject to any special directions by the Commission.

Rule 18

1. After any deliberations and before a vote is taken on any matter in the Commission, the President may request members to state their opinions thereon, in the order of precedence laid down in Rule 4, starting with the junior member. The vote may also be taken in the same manner.

2. If the voting is equal, a roll call vote shall then be taken as provided in paragraph 1 of this Rule and the President shall have a casting vote.

3. In decisions on the admissibility of an application, or in expressing an opinion on a breach of the Convention, members shall not abstain.

Rule 19

1. The records of deliberations shall be limited to a record of the subject of the discussions, the votes taken, the names of those voting for and against a motion and any statements expressly made for insertion therein.

2. The records of hearings shall contain the names of the members present and of any persons appearing; they shall give a brief account of the course of the hearing and of any decision taken.

3. The draft minutes of the Commission's sessions shall be circulated to members and if no comments are received within a prescribed time-limit they shall be deemed to be adopted. Any such comments will be taken up at the next session.

Rule 20

1. Members shall not take part in the examination of an application before the Commission, where they

a. have any personal interest in the case;

b. have participated in any decision on the facts on which the application is based as adviser to any of the parties or as a member of any tribunal or body of enquiry.

2. If, in any case of doubt with regard to paragraph 1 of this Rule, or in any other circumstances which might appear to affect the impartiality of members in their examination of an application, they or the President consider that they should not take part, the Commission shall decide.

Rule 21

When, for any special reason other than under Rule 20, members consider that they should not take part or continue to take part in the examination of a case, they shall inform the President.

Rule 22

Any member who, under the provisions of Rule 20 or Rule 21, does not take part in the examination of an application, shall not form part of the quorum during such examination.

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