2016 | European Court of Human Rights Rules of Court – Practice Direction on Just Satisfaction Claims

This brief Practice Direction provides an update of the Court’s policy and practice regarding the award of the reparation of “just satisfaction.” It shows that just satisfaction will only be awarded under certain circumstances, even when a violation of an ECHR right has been established. It will not always take the form of financial compensation: in many cases the mere fact of a judgement in the claimant’s favour is considered by the court to constitute just satisfaction, as it is a public acknowledgement of the harm done to the claimant by the State.

That said, the Court may and does award pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages, as well as the reimbursement of costs and expenses. The Court does not however consider ‘punitive damages’. Its aim is not to punish the State in question, but to cover the costs caused or necessitated by the harm.

Finally, the Practice Direction advises applicants as to what they must do to demonstrate the extent of the damages warranted by the specific violation of their rights.