Germany

ENTRY INTO FORCE of the European Convention on Human Rights

3 September 1953

Number of implemented cases*

205

Examples

Justice for businessman subjected to a police raid just because of someone else’s traffic violation

Jürgen Buck ran a small business in a town near Frankfurt. One afternoon police suddenly raided his house and office. Jürgen alleged that suspicions were raised locally that he was involved in crime, leading to a loss of business. Yet the raid had merely been an unnecessary step in proceedings against Jürgen’s son for speeding. The European court ruled that the raid had been disproportionate.

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Nurse compensated after being fired for whistleblowing

Brigitte Heinisch was a geriatric nurse. She claimed that practices in the old people’s home where she worked were putting patients at risk. After she made her allegations public, she was fired. Yet, the German courts found that her dismissal was lawful - so Mrs Heinisch took her case to Strasbourg. Her case was then re-opened and she won compensation.

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Reforms to address unreasonable legal delays

Dozens of applicants complained of excessive delays to legal proceedings in Germany. One was Rüdiger Rumpf, who waited for over 13 years to have an administrative issue decided upon. The Strasbourg court identified a structural problem concerning a lack of remedies for excessively long proceedings in Germany. This led to significant reforms to tackle the problem.

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Improved custody rights for fathers of children born out of marriage

Horst Zaunegger had a daughter and separated from the child’s mother. German law limited his chances to obtain joint custody, because he and the mother had never been married. After he won his case in Strasbourg, the law was changed to give fathers such as Mr Zaunegger more rights.

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* This figure includes implemented judgments of the European Court of Human Rights and implemented friendly settlements in litigation before the court. The statistics will be updated annually, at the beginning of each calendar year. Source: the database of the Department for the Execution of Judgments of the ECHR, HUDOC-EXEC.