Ministers’ Deputies

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CM/Inf/DH(2010)15 22 March 2010


Round Table on “Effective remedies against non-execution or delayed execution of domestic court decisions”

Conclusions of the Round Table held in the Strasbourg, Council of Europe, 15 – 16 March 2010

Document prepared by the Department for the execution of judgments of the ECHR (Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs)


Having regard to the constantly growing number of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights revealing systemic problems due to the non-execution or delayed execution of domestic judicial decisions, both directed against public entities, including the State itself, and private individuals;

Recalling that the effective enforcement of judicial decisions is essential for the rule of law which the States party to the European Convention on Human Rights have undertaken to guarantee, in particular through Article 6, paragraph 1, and the right to fair trial;

Recalling that the European Convention on Human Rights requires that States take ex officio all necessary measures to ensure that national authorities rapidly comply with domestic judicial decisions and that the complexity of enforcement or lack of budgetary or other resources cannot justify non-execution or delayed execution;

Recalling in this context the conclusions reached at the two earlier round tables organised around the theme of the non-execution of domestic judicial decisions addressing in particular the questions linked to the organisation of state budgetary procedures and of enforcement services1;

Recalling in the present context the requirements relating to the provision of effective domestic remedies in Article 13 of the Convention, which give direct expression to the principle of subsidiarity enshrined in Article 1 of the Convention, according to which the protection of human rights is first and foremost the responsibility of the domestic legal system;

Recalling that Article 13 requires the States to provide for a domestic remedy to deal with the substance of an “arguable complaint” under the Convention and to grant appropriate relief, whether in the form of compensation, acceleration and/or other forms of redress, for any violation found;

Bearing also in mind the Committee of Minister’s Recommendations Rec (2004)6 on the improvement of domestic remedies and Rec (2010)3 on effective remedies for excessive length of proceedings and its Guide of Good Practices and the reports and guidelines of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ)2;

Recalling that the findings of violations by the European Court of Human Rights impose a legal obligation on competent state authorities to adopt without delay general measures preventing similar violations and that the need for such measures, including the provision of effective domestic remedies, is all the more pressing in case of repetitive violations revealing structural problems;

Stressing the Committee of Ministers’ long-standing position that the setting up of domestic remedies, however important, does not relieve states from their general obligation to solve the structural problems underlying violations;

Noting in particular the risk that structural problems may generate large number of complaints awaiting the adoption of adequate remedial measures and the ensuing risk of overburdening of national instances and/or of the Convention organs;

Having taken stock of the exchanges of experiences between States on the problems encountered and the concrete measures adopted or envisaged in order to put in place effective remedies in situations of non-execution and/or excessively lengthy execution of domestic court judgments, in particular in response to judgments of the European Court;

Having noted the special experiences gained of the pilot judgment procedure and the obligations imposed in the ensuing judgments as regards effective remedies and, in particular, as regards the time limits set for the introduction of such remedies and the solution of individual cases;

Noting the variety of additional measures adopted in different countries to address the consequences of the non-execution or slow execution of domestic court judgments, including the provision of adequate default interest or indexation systems, the introduction of a competence for courts or special judicial bodies to impose notably monetary sanctions, the possibility of seizure also of state assets and improved monitoring of the State authorities’ compliance with judicial decisions by prosecutors or other equivalent institutions;

Noting the important ongoing reforms in a number of countries to improve the efficiency of bailiffs’ services and the continuing contribution of the work of CEPEJ;

The participants of the Round Table:

Stressed the need for each State to equip itself with the legal instruments and resources which are adequate and sufficient to ensure execution of domestic judicial decisions, including those delivered against it and its entities;

Encouraged the States, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, to ensure that means exist which permits the anticipation of possible needs for the introduction of domestic remedies;

Stressed the importance for States to include the question of remedies in the action plans developed following judgments of the European Court, in particular when judgments reveal structural problems;

Highlighted the fact that, where structural systemic problems are at the roots of the violations found, the introduction of a remedy, while important, cannot in itself constitute a long-lasting solution;

Underlined the necessity, in case of major structural problems, to ensure the adoption of comprehensive integrated domestic strategies, including the issue of remedies, involving all actors and decision-makers concerned, in the spirit of the Committee of Ministers’ Recommendation CM/Rec(2008)2 on efficient domestic capacity for rapid execution of judgments of the European Court;

Recognised the importance as well as the need of developing as early as possible, both in the framework of the Committee of Ministers’ supervision of the execution process and the European Court’s pilot judgment procedure, the interaction between the domestic and the European levels as far as such comprehensive national strategies are concerned,

Agreed to continue the ongoing reflections, including on issues such as the reforms of the bailiffs’ service, with a view to speeding up and increasing the efficiency of the reforms in their respective countries, and to resume consideration of progress achieved in an appropriate form at the earliest opportunity.

1 Conclusions of the Round Tables of 30-31 October 2006 on”Non-enforcement of domestic court decisions delivered against the State and its entities in the Russian Federation: remaining problems and solutions required” and of 21-22 June 2007 on “Non-enforcement of domestic courts decisions in member states: general measures to comply with European Court judgments”.

2 See in particular the document CEPEJ(2009)11REV Guidelines for a better implementation of the existing Council of Europe’s recommendation on enforcement adopted by the CEPEJ at its 14th plenary meeting.