European Court of Human Rights research

March 10, 2011

Finding judgments (on the merits), decisions (on admissibility), advisory opinions, resolutions, and reports of the European Court of Human Rights has never been easier. ECHR judgments can be found in both print and electronic format in both official and unofficial sources.


  • Reports of Judgments & Decisions (Official print reports)
    This series  has about a 5 year lagtime. Today, each volume contains numerous ECHR judgments and decisions.  Prior to 1996, however, judgments and decisions were published individually as Series A; the title of the case (i.e. the parties) is the title of the publication.  In other words, you can do a title or keyword search in Morris for the case name and find the judgment or decisions if it was published. For example, if you search for the party, Matznetter, you will find the 1970 ECHR publication of the Matznetter case.
  • European Court of Human Rights (Official database)
    The ECHR's database, HUDOC, is an easy and efficient way to find an official version of an ECHR judgment or decision if you know the parties or case number. However, this can be a very labor-intensive means of searching for cases about a particular topic because the database does not provide absracts or summaries of the cases in the search results; you have to open and skim each case individually to determine if it is relevant to your research. You can also find Advisory Opinions, Reports, and Resolutions in HUDOC.
  • Lexis (Human Rights Cases) (Unofficial database)
    Lexis has full-coverage of the HUDOC judgments and decisions in its database, Human Rights Cases (which also covers a commercial human rights reporter broader than the ECHR).  This is a terrific way to search full-text through the ECHR decisions. Note, however, you cannot pull up a case by ECHR citation (e.g. [2010] ECHR 61498/08) in Lexis. All results are html only; pdfs are not available. Lexis requires a password and is available only to the YLS community.
  • European Human Rights Reports (EHRR) (Unofficial print reporter)
    EHRR is a commercial publication of the ECHR decisions. The volumes come out more frequently than the official reports and are fairly current (about a one-year lagtime). This series reprints many (but not all) of the ECHR judgments.  It also has a feature in the back of each issue called Summaries and Extracts (SE) of other important decisions and judgments.
  • Westlaw (EHRR) (Unofficial database)
    This is a terrific way to search for ECHR judgments even if you do not have specific case names.  You can conduct a full-text search of the EHRR and SE or limit your searching within various parameters (not yet available in WestlawNext). You can also pull up an EHRR citation (e.g. 51 EHRR 10; 49 EHRR SE11). All EHRR results are html only; pdfs of the reporter are not available. Westlaw requires a password and is available to the YLS community only.
  • Pleadings, Oral Arguments, and Documents (Official print volumes)
    From 1960-1995 (1987 decisions), the ECHR also published Series B containing briefs, transcripts, and other documents pertinent to various cases.  Similar to the early volumes of Series A, you can do a title or keyword search or MORRIS using the case name (parties) to find individual volumes (e.g. the Lawless case). Although this series ended publication in 1995, one can still obtain court documents by contacting the ECHR directly.

Except for Westlaw and Lexis, all of these reporters and reports are accepted sources for Bluebook purposes (see Rule 21.5.3, p.194).

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