State pays €323,000 damages for convictions by EU human rights court in 2022

More than double the fines delivered by court in 2021

Portugal paid more than €323,000 in compensation in 2022 for convictions by the European Court of Human Rights (“ECHR”), compared with €140,097 the previous year, a report by the court’s Committee of Ministers has revealed.

The annual report for 2022 shows that full payment of compensation awarded by the Court has been recorded in nine cases, while “confirmation of full payment and/or default interest is awaited in six (further) cases for which the deadline indicated in the Court’s judgment has already passed by more than six months”.

The ECHR, established in 1959, is an international court of the Council of Europe that examines complaints about violations of the European Convention on Human Rights.

There are currently 46 member states – after Russia left in March last year – and they are obliged to respect the court’s final decisions, in accordance with international law.

The number of cases against Portugal before the Strasbourg Court with suspended execution rose in 2022 to 39, up from 28 the previous year. One has been pending “for five years or more”, five for “five years or more”

Among pending cases are “a group of cases concerning the excessive length of civil and administrative proceedings and another group concerning overcrowding and material conditions of prisons and the lack of effective solutions.” 

Cases taken to the Court have to have passed through all the necessary stages of the courts in Portugal before they qualify. Thus these fines, finally delivered, have all been through many years of litigation, not to mention the deep frustration of all those challenging them.

One of the cases settled last year awarded a father €26,000 for the agony he was put through 16 years previously because authorities in Portugal simply didn’t act as they should have done.

Source material: LUSA

Portugal Resident