ENTRY INTO FORCE of the European Convention on Human Rights

3 September 1953

Number of implemented cases*



Fair trial breach leads to better approach to resolving medical disputes

Iceland’s highest court overturned a legal ruling which found that medical mistakes had been made immediately after the birth of Sara Lind Eggertsdóttir. The European court found that the proceedings were unfair because the Icelandic court trusted opinions from an expert body that lacked neutrality. This judgment led Iceland to improve the way its courts handle disputes over medical issues.

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Free speech reforms after writer prosecuted for reporting allegations of police brutality

In the early 1980s Thorgeir Thorgeirson wrote articles claiming that there was a problem with police brutality in Reykjavik. His reporting was based on the prosecution of a police officer and various public allegations. Nevertheless, he was convicted for defaming the police. The European court ruled that this had violated his right to freedom of expression, leading to free speech reforms.

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Journalist wins freedom of speech case in Strasbourg

Björk Eidsdottir is a journalist who claimed that the owner of a strip club was making his staff work as prostitutes. The issue was a matter of public interest, and her article was published in good faith and with due diligence. Nevertheless, the club owner sued Björk for defamation and won. The European court held that this had breached the journalist’s right to free speech.

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* This figure includes all judgments and decisions from the European Court of Human Rights (including friendly settlements) concerning which the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers has decided that all necessary follow-up measures have been taken. Source: the database of the Department for the Execution of Judgments of the ECHR, HUDOC-EXEC.