Human Rights Law Centre

Execution of ECtHR Judgements

The European Human Rights Law Unit is engaged in a project to analyse and critique the Council of Europe procedures for the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights and the remedial steps taken by States found by the Court to be in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

  • Dates: September 2017 - July 2019
  • Core staff: Professor David Harris, Carla Buckley

The output will be proposals for reform and recommendations for ‘best practice.’ The justification for the project is that the Council of Europe procedures have been the subject of criticism and states have in many cases been slow to implement judgements or not implemented them at all.


The first step in the project was an expert workshop on The Execution of European Court of Human Rights Judgements organised by the Centre in partnership with the Council of Europe’s Department for the Execution of Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (Execution Department) that was held at the University in September 2017. Read the transcript of the proceedings. The results of the workshop were presented by Professor David Harris and Judge Paul Mahoney at a Council of Europe workshop in Strasbourg in December 2018.

In April 2019, Robert Linham, the UK Deputy Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe, presented a paper on “The Execution of Court Judgments: a Government View” to the Centre’s Annual Nottingham Student Conference. A paper on NGO participation in the execution process was presented at the same Conference by Elif Erken, a PhD student at the University of Utrecht.

In the summer of 2019 the Centre’s European Human Rights Law Unit continued research on its ongoing project on the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. Interviews were conducted by David Harris and Carla Buckley at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg with European Court judges, Government diplomats, Execution Department staff, the Co-Directors of the European Implementation Network and the European Commissioner for Human Rights Deputy Director. Carla Buckley also worked in the Execution Department, preparing cases for Committee of Ministers meetings. In addition, reports were researched and written by Dr Romana Lemishka on the record of Ukraine in implementing judgments and by Dr Ruth Brittle on the implementation by states of judgments on child migrants.

A number of reasons for delay in implementation were found. These included the financial cost of implementation (eg to improve prison conditions or expedite trials); political and public opposition to the European Convention generally (as in some quarters in the UK) or to particular judgments (eg on prisoners voting rights); opposition from vested interests (eg from landowners in Ukraine); lack of parliamentary support or time; difficulties in amending the national constitution; and challenges to established legal procedures. The interviews and reports were funded by the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Human Rights Law Centre

School of Law
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

+44 (0)115 846 8506