The European Court of Human Rights is an international court based in Strasbourg. It consists of a number of judges equal to the number of member States of the Council of Europe that have ratified the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms – currently forty-five. The Court’s judges sit in their individual capacity and do not represent any State. In dealing with applications, the Court is assisted by a Registry consisting mainly of lawyers from all the member States (who are also known as legal secretaries). They are entirely independent of their country of origin and do not represent either applicants or States.
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.’