ENTRY INTO FORCE of the European Convention on Human Rights

9 November 1978

Number of implemented cases*



Greater protection of privacy after a civil servant was spied on to pass NATO security clearance

Gracinda Maria Antunes Rocha would never have started her new job had she known that she would be placed under surveillance to get security clearance. The European Court of Human Rights found that the Portuguese authorities had breached her right to privacy. Portugal responded to the judgment by bringing in a new law allowing victims to get justice more easily in such circumstances.

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Mother wins legal fight to get her children back

Liliana loved her children but struggled to raise them alone. A Portuguese judge, however, thought she was a bad mother, ordering that her youngest children be taken away from her. The European court said that decision breached Liliana’s rights, and the authorities should have tried to keep the family together. Its judgment led to Liliana being reunited with her children.

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Legal standards changed after gay father was denied custody of his child

When João Salgueiro da Silva Mouta got divorced, the Court of Appeal granted his wife custody of their daughter. A decisive reason was the fact that João was gay. The European court ruled that this had been discriminatory, and without proper justification – leading to a change in Portuguese court practices.

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Journalist convicted for asking questions wins free speech case at European court

In a report on alleged corruption in Portuguese football, José Manuel Colaço Mestre asked questions to an interviewee about the dual role played by Mr Pinto de Costa, who was then both Chairman of FC Porto and President of the Portuguese Football League. Because of these questions, José Manuel and his employer were both found guilty of criminal defamation in the Portuguese courts.

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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.