The European Court is a judicial body, established by the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The Court is based in Strasbourg, France and is a full time permanent body.
The Court is composed of forty-five judges, one judge for each state party to the ECHR. Article 20 ECHR establishes that ‘The Court shall consist of a number of judges equal to that of the High Contracting Parties.’
- ‘The judges shall be of high moral character and must either possess the qualifications required for appointment to high judicial office or be jurisconsults of recognised competence’ (Article 21(1) ECHR).
- The judges shall sit on the Court in their individual capacity (Article 21(2) ECHR).
- Ad hoc judges: Rule 29(1) Rules of Court. ‘1.(a) If the judge elected in respect of a Contracting Party concerned is unable to sit in the Chamber, withdraws, or is exempted, the President of the Chamber shall invite that Party to indicate whether it wishes to appoint to sit as judge either another elected judge or an ad hoc judge and, if so, to state at the same time the name of the person appointed.’