Set up in 1959, the European Court of Human Rights is a judicial body guaranteeing the rights enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights for everyone under the jurisdiction of a contracting state. There has been a single Court since 1 November 1998 which sits permanently in Strasbourg (France).
The number of judges at the Court is the same as that of the States Parties to the Convention. The judges are totally independent, do not represent their country and are elected by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
In its 50 years of existence, the Court has delivered more than 10,000 judgments. These judgments are binding on the states concerned and require them to erase the consequences of violations for the applicants and amend their legislation and practices in numerous areas, under the supervision of the Committee of Ministers. The Convention evolves through the Court’s case-law as a living instrument to face new challenges and as a force for the consolidation of the rule of law and democracy
Because of the significant increase in the number of cases brought before the Court, several reforms are currently taking place. A major reform process to ensure the effectiveness of the Court was initiated in June 2010.