An appeal before the European Court of Human Rights Strasbourg

Bulgaria ratified the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms as pursuant to Article 5 paragraph 4 of the Constitution of Bulgaria, the Convention is part of domestic law and its norms have direct effect and legal priority over the conflicting national provisions.

Who could seek a protection from the court in Strasbourg?

Generally, these are people who did not have any other legal possibilities. Strasbourg appeal may be filed within 6 months after exhausting all local legal possibilities.

The proceedings before the Court are free of charge. The appeal and other documents may be submitted at any of the official languages of the Council of Europe, among which is Bulgarian.

The entire procedure takes 5-6 years. Strasbourg Court only examines appeals about violations of rights, which are governed by the Convention and its Protocols. The knowledge Convention and Protocols is mandatory.

The question when all local legal possibilities are exhausted is always specific. It means that the court case in Bulgaria should be initiated and it should be passed through the three courts instances (the Bulgarian procedure includes three court instances). The cases for violations of the Convention against Bulgaria often required to be initiated a procedure by the Bulgarian Law on State liability for damage caused to citizens.

It is important to be known that the Strasbourg Court is not a court of appeal to the national courts; it can neither amend nor overturn decisions by the Bulgarian court.

In general, the conditions for acceptability of the appeal before the Court in Strassbourg are:

- the legal possibilities in the local country-violator to be exhausted;

- the rights of the individual under the Convention to be violated;

- a period of 6 months to be expired after the last instance’ decision;

- there should not have to be filed another appeal before another international institution


Prepared by “Valova and Angelova” law firm