– New working methods
Twin-track supervision system
In the context of the follow-up to the Conference and
the Deputies set up new working methods to respond to the need for strengthening
the principle of subsidiarity and enhancing the effectiveness and the
transparency of the supervision of the execution of the judgments of the Court.
(14-15 September 2010) (DH), the Deputies “endorsed the principle of the
concerning a new system for the supervision of the execution as set out in
with the aim of implementing it as from 1 January 2011”.
Eventually, at their
1100th meeting (December 2010) (DH), the
Deputies agreed on a number of practical modalities for the implementation of
this new supervision system.
1. Guiding principles of the new working methods
1.1 Under the principle of subsidiarity, responsibility
for execution lies on the States3.
The supervision of execution is the collective responsibility of member States
in the framework of the Committee of Ministers.
1.2 The supervision of the execution of judgments is
carried out in a continuous manner, detached from the DH meetings’ schedule4.
In this respect, all cases for which execution is pending are placed on the
agenda of each DH meeting of the Deputies until the supervision of their
execution is closed5.
Cases to be examined at a Human Rights meeting are included in the order of
1.3 The cases are divided into two parallel and
interdependent procedures: a standard procedure (simplified), which is the norm,
and an enhanced procedure for cases meeting a number of criteria (see below).
Only cases for enhanced supervision, or cases proposed to be transferred under
enhanced procedure, can be examined on the merits in the context of Human Rights
meetings, with or without debate, once on the order of business of a given
2. Criteria for the classification of cases
2.1 In accordance with the principle of subsidiarity,
all cases are examined under the standard procedure7.
Therefore, all cases are placed under the standard procedure unless, because of
its specific nature, a case requires consideration under the enhanced procedure.
2.2 At their
1100th meeting, the Deputies agreed that
the indicators to examine cases under the enhanced supervision procedure be as
- judgments requiring urgent individual measures;
- pilot judgments;
- judgments disclosing major structural and/or complex
problems as identified by the Court and/or the Committee of Ministers;
- interstate cases.
2.3 The Committee of Ministers may decide to examine any
case under the enhanced procedure following an initiative of a member State or
the Secretariat. The request may be made at any stage of the supervision
procedure. Both Member States and the Secretariat should be mindful of the
selected indicators when requesting a case to be considered under the enhanced
2.4 In practice, at each Human Rights meeting, the
Secretariat prepares a list of new judgments and decisions on friendly
settlements, and prepares draft decisions with a view to classifying them under
standard or enhanced procedure. For each case proposed under enhanced procedure,
the Secretariat applies the relevant criteria or the affiliation to a previous
case already classified under enhanced procedure.
Obligation by States: action plans and reports
3.1 Member States must provide an action plan and/or an
as soon as possible and in any case at the latest within six months of a
judgment becoming final10.
is a plan setting out the measures the respondent State intends to take to
implement a judgment of the Court, including an indicative timetable. The
plan shall, if possible, set out all measures necessary to implement the
judgment. Alternatively, where it is not possible to determine all measures
immediately, the plan shall set out the steps to be taken to determine the
measures required, including an indicative timetable for such steps.
It is axiomatic that action plans could contain
information on measures already taken.
Action plans are evolving documents and should be
regularly updated with information on the progress achieved with respect to
their implementation. They should be amended if the initial plans prove
unachievable or inappropriate in view of new developments.
is a report by the respondent State setting out all the measures taken to
implement a judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, an/or an
explanation of why no measures, or no further measures, are necessary.
3.2 Action plans and action reports are put on line on
the website of the department for the Execution of judgments, as well as on the
Committee of Ministers’ website as DH-DD documents. They are usually made public
except where a motivated request for confidentiality is made at the time of
submitting the information13.
3.3 At each Human Rights’ meeting, a list of the action
plans/reports received is distributed and appended to the working documents. It
is accompanied by draft decisions to take note of the action plans and to invite
the authorities of the member States concerned to keep the Committee of
Ministers regularly informed of developments in their implementation.
3.4 In the absence of action plan/report within the
deadline, the Secretariat will send a reminder to the State concerned. The
absence of action plan/report or explanations after this reminder, will motivate
the transfer from standard to enhanced procedure14.
4. Practical modalities of the
4.1. The Committee of Ministers’ involvement in the
standard procedure is limited to verifying whether or not action plans or action
reports have been presented by member States. This verification is done through
decisions regularly adopted to this effect15.
This formal involvement of the Committee is not only necessary for the smooth
functioning of the execution process but also contributes to its transparency
The Committee only intervenes at the end of the process to note the closure of
the case, after an evaluation by the Secretariat of the action reports received.
4.2. The Secretariat makes a preliminary assessment of
the action plans/reports by the respondent States. The Secretariat may contact
the national authorities if further information and clarifications are necessary17.
4.3 When there is agreement between a member State and
the Secretariat on the content of the action report, the case is presented to
the Committee of Ministers with a proposal for closure18
(generally with the preparation of a draft resolution closing the examination of
5. Practical modalities of the enhanced procedure
5.1 The Committee of Ministers exercises its supervision
through decisions adopted at the Human Rights’ meetings19.
This supervision of the execution is carried out in two practical ways:
decisions adopted without debate or at the end of a debate. Holding a debate or
not is proposed in the draft order of business20,
under the responsibility of the Chair, and must be approved by the Committee21.
5.2 The Secretariat, in parallel, makes all
efforts to respond positively to requests from States for a targeted
co-operation with a view to facilitating the execution process22.
6. Transfer from one modality of supervision to the
6.1 A case may be transferred from one procedure to the
other by a duly reasoned decision of the Committee of Ministers23.
6.2 For example, the following situations can be
i. Transfer from enhanced to standard:
- the Committee of Ministers is satisfied with the
action plan presented and/or its implementation;
- the obstacles to the execution no longer exist;
- required urgent individual measures have been
ii. Transfer from standard to enhanced:
- failure to present an action report, or
explanation in the deadline;
- in case of disagreement between a member State and
the Secretariat on the contents of the action plan or report so that the
Committee can provide guidance in order to assist the execution process;
- serious delay in the implementation of the measures
announced in the action plan;
- persistent failure to supply information on the
payment of just satisfaction.
7. Simplified supervision of the payment of just
7.1. Operating principles: the principle is the
registration by the Execution of Judgments Department of payments by Sates of
sums awarded by the Court for just satisfaction, supervision is only carried out
if the applicant contests the payment or the amount of the sums paid.
7.2. Practical arrangements for the supervision:
- a simple and standardised form26
is put at the States’ disposal in the collaborative website of the Execution of
- if an applicant has not made any complaint within two
months of the date when the payment was registered, the payment is considered
accepted according to the terms it has been made.
- the information on the payment are put on line on the
Execution of Judgments Department's website.
7.3 The list of cases paid is appended to the working
documents for each Human Rights meeting, for information, whereas a list of
cases for which no payment has been received (or no information on the payment
is available) comes with a draft decision noting the absence of payment of just
satisfaction and inviting the State concerned to supply information confirming
the payment owed.
7.4 In case of dispute with the applicant, the problem
will be examined by the Execution Department and if need be, brought to the
attention of the Committee of Ministers.
8. Closure of cases
The Secretariat prepares draft resolutions and submits
them for adoption by the Committee of Ministers at each Human Rights meeting.
The resolutions include a link to the adopted action reports. They are adopted
without debate in principle.
9. Simplified documentation for the DH meetings
9.1 As all pending cases under consideration are being
considered as included in the agenda of each meeting, no agenda is prepared for
Human Rights meetings. The status of
appears in the database on the
Execution Department website.
9.2 Cases proposed for consideration at a given Human
Rights meeting appear in the order of business of the meeting.
i. Preparation and content of the draft order of
It includes a section on cases proposed for
consideration under enhanced procedure with or without debate. Each case is
accompanied by a list of reference documents, a brief description of the case,
the state of execution, possibly more detailed notes.
For the cases proposed without debate, a draft decision
is in principle prepared.
For those proposed with debate, the Secretariat is
instructed to prepare as a rule preliminary draft decisions for all the cases
under Article 34 of the
Convention, appearing on the order of business, to be
circulated with the revised draft order of business, unless the State or States
under examination object(s). In case of an objection, the Secretariat will
prepare points for consideration to guide the debate27.
The draft order of business also includes a number of
draft decisions on the management of the cases such as the classification of new
judgments and new decisions of the Court, the supervision of the payment of just
satisfaction, the transmission of action plans and the adoption of resolutions
closing the examination of certain cases28.
All these draft decisions are in principle taken without debate.
Two documents are appended to the order of business:
Appendix 1 list of all the cases for which an action
plan / action report has been received since the last meeting
Appendix 2 List of cases paid
A preliminary draft order of business is distributed one
month before the meeting, under the responsibility of the Chair29.
Delegations have 10 calendar days before the date of the meeting to submit
comments or proposed amendments to the draft order of business30.
After the expiry of this time-limit, a revised draft order of business is
distributed on the basis of the comments received.
The Deputies approve the order of business at the
beginning of the meeting. In order to increase transparency, for each Human
Rights meeting, a first indicative list of cases to be included in the draft
order of business for the following meeting is prepared31.
ii. Annotated Agenda and decisions: the order of
business is considered as an internal document, not subject to the
declassification rules. On the other hand, its content, as well as the decisions
adopted at the end of the meetings are compiled in a public document entitled
Annotated Order of Business and decisions adopted.
10. Rules for the supervision of the execution of
The Rules of the Committee of Ministers for the supervision of the execution of
judgments and of the terms of friendly settlements
have not been modified to take into account the new working methods. They were
considered sufficiently flexible to be adaptable to the new working methods.
This document takes into account the following documents : CM/Inf(2010)28 and
CM/Inf/DH(2011)29, as well as the
decisions adopted in this respect by the Committee of Ministers.
5 Item 4 of the decision adopted at the
6 Cf §9.
9 This mechanism was set up as early as 2009, see document
CM/Inf/DH(2009)29 rev : Action Plans – Action Reports - Definitions and
objectives ; document
CM/Inf/DH(2010)37, Appendix I.
13 Item 5 of the afore-mentioned decision, adopted on the working
methods at the
CM/Inf/DH(2010)37, §§27-28 and CM/Inf/DH(2010)45 final §20.
15 See above : controls and sanctions provided concerning action
20 For further details, see below
orders of business.
21 Cf §9 below.
22 See document
CM/Inf/DH(2010)45 final, §17 for details on this
CM/Inf/DH(2010)37, §§ 25-30 and Appendix II, §§14-15.
CM/Inf/DH(2010)37, Appendix II, §5 contains such a form.
27 Decision adopted at 1150th meeting
(September 2012) (DH), Item a,
31 Decision item b. adopted at the
1128th meeting, December 2011.