This practical guide to the conditions of admissibility of individual applications is to be seen in the same context. It is designed to present a clearer and more detailed picture of the conditions of admissibility with a view, firstly, to reducing as far as possible the number of applications which have no prospect of resulting in a ruling on the merits and, secondly, to ensuring that those applications which warrant examination on the merits pass the admissibility test. At present, in most cases which pass that test, the admissibility and merits are examined at the same time, which simplifies and speeds up the procedure.
This document is aimed principally at legal practitioners and in particular at lawyers who may be called upon to represent applicants before the Court. All the admissibility criteria set forth in Articles 34 (individual applications) and 35 (admissibility criteria) of the Convention have been examined in the light of the Court’s case- law. Naturally, some concepts, such as the six-month time-limit and, to a lesser extent, the exhaustion of domestic remedies, are more easily defined than others such as the concept of “manifestly ill-founded”, which can be broken down almost ad infinitum, or the Court’s jurisdiction ratione materiae or ratione personae. Furthermore, some Articles are relied on much more frequently than others by applicants, and some States have not ratified all the additional Protocols to the Convention, while others have issued reservations with regard to the scope of certain provisions. The rare instances of inter-State applications have not been taken into account as they call for a very different kind of approach. This guide does not therefore claim to be exhaustive and will concentrate on the most commonly occurring scenarios.