Protocol No. 15 to the European Convention on Human Rights came into force on 1 August 2021 once it had been signed and ratified by the 47 member States of the Council of Europe. The main changes brought about by this Protocol consist in the additions to the Convention of express references to the principle of subsidiarity and the margin of appreciation doctrine.
However, another major change directly concerns applicants and their representatives.
Paragraph 1 of Article 35 of the Convention has been amended to reduce from six to four months the time-limit following the date of the final domestic decision within which an application must be lodged with the Court (see Articles 4 and 5 of the Protocol). In order to enable potential applicants to become fully aware of the new deadline, it was provided in Article 8, paragraph 3, of the Protocol that this change would take effect only after a period of six months following the entry into force of the Protocol, thus from 1 February 2022 onwards. In addition this new time-limit is not retroactive since the last sentence of Article 8 paragraph 3 states that it does not apply to applications in respect of which the final domestic decision was taken before the application of the new rule.
The Court has informed the public of this change by a statement and on its website, on the applicants’ pages, in English and French but also in non-official languages, and at all official events involving stakeholders in the Convention system.
The guidance for applicants, in English and French but also in non-official languages, will consequently be updated and made accessible on the Court’s website from 1 February 2022.