Article 41 of the European Convention on Human Rights
Just satisfaction: If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party concerned allows only partial reparation to be made, the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.
Following the entry into force of Protocol 14, on 1st June 2010, the Committee of Ministers also supervises the execution of the terms of friendly settlements endorsed by the Court (Article 39 of Convention), including any sum that the State has agreed to pay the applicant under the terms of such a settlement.
When the Court finds against a State and observes that the applicant has sustained damage, it awarded the applicant just satisfaction, that is to say a sum of money by way of compensation for that damage. The damage is distinguished in the following way:
Damage in general
A clear causal link must be established between the damage claimed and the violation alleged. The Court will not be satisfied by a merely tenuous connection between the alleged violation and the damage, nor by mere speculation as to what might have been. Compensation for damage can be awarded in so far as the damage is the result of a violation found. No award can be made for damage caused by events or situations that have not been found to constitute a violation of the Convention, or for damage related to complaints declared inadmissible at an earlier stage of the proceedings. The purpose of the Court’s award in respect of damage is to compensate the applicant for the actual harmful consequences of a violation. It is not intended to punish the Contracting Party responsible. The Court has therefore, until now, considered it inappropriate to accept claims for damages with labels such as “punitive”, “aggravated” or “exemplary”.
1. Pecuniary damage
The principle with regard to pecuniary damage is that the applicant should be placed, as far as possible, in the position in which he or she would have been had the violation found not taken place, in other words, restitutio in integrum. This can involve compensation for both loss actually suffered (damnum emergens) and loss, or diminished gain, to be expected in the future (lucrum cessans). It is for the applicant to show that pecuniary damage has resulted from the violation or violations alleged. The applicant should submit relevant documents to prove, as far as possible, not only the existence but also the amount or value of the damage. Normally, the Court’s award will reflect the full calculated amount of the damage. However, if the actual damage cannot be precisely calculated, the Court will make an estimate based on the facts at its disposal.
2. Non-pecuniary damage
The Court’s award in respect of non-pecuniary damage is intended to provide financial compensation for non-material harm, for example mental or physical suffering.
It is in the nature of non-pecuniary damage that it does not lend itself to precise calculation. If the existence of such damage is established, and if the Court considers that a monetary award is necessary, it will make an assessment on an equitable basis, having regard to the standards which emerge from its case-law.
3. Costs and expenses
The Court can order the reimbursement to the applicant of costs and expenses which he or she has incurred – first at the domestic level, and subsequently in the proceedings before the Court itself – in trying to prevent the violation from occurring, or in trying to obtain redress therefor. Such costs and expenses will typically include the cost of legal assistance, court registration fees and suchlike. They may also include travel and subsistence expenses, in particular if these have been incurred by attendance at a hearing of the Court.
Le Secretariat of the Department for the execution for Court’s judgments registers information received from the respondent governments or from the applicants concerning payemnt of just satisfaction or from a possible internal debt and controles this information in case of dispute from the applicant. The Committee of Ministers ensures, if necessary, that the sum awarded by the Court, is indeed paid to the applicant.