Advisory opinions

Advisory opinions under Protocol No. 16

Protocol No. 16 to the Convention

Protocol No. 16 to the Convention allows the highest courts and tribunals of a State Party to request the Court to give advisory opinions on questions of principle relating to the interpretation or application of the rights and freedoms defined in the Convention or the protocols thereto.
Protocol No. 16 came into force on 1 August 2018 in respect of the States which have signed and ratified it.

 Protocol No. 16 
Explanatory report :   English    Italian  (Translation commissioned by the Italian Government)
Guidelines:                 English    French   Armenian

 Opinion of the Court (May 2013) 

Currently pending

Requests for advisory opinion accepted (*no advisory opinions pending)

Examination completed

Advisory opinions delivered

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On 14 December the ECHR delivered its advisory opinion in reply to a request submitted by the Conseil d’État of Belgium.

The request was submitted in the context of an application lodged by a security guard before the administrative judicial division of the Belgian Conseil d’État, seeking the annulment of a decision by the Ministry of the Interior to withdraw an identity card entitling him to work as a security or surveillance guard, on the grounds that he was in contact with individuals associated with the “scientific” strand of Salafism.

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On 13 April 2023 the ECHR delivered its advisory opinion in reply to a request submitted by the Supreme Court of Finland.

The request concerned the issues that have arisen out of proceedings for the adoption of an adult.

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On 13 July 2022 the ECHR delivered its advisory opinion in reply to a request submitted by the French Conseil d’État.

The request concerned the entitlement of landowners’ associations to withdraw their land from the territory of an officially approved hunting association (ACCA).

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On 26 April 2022 the Court delivered its advisory opinion in reply to a request submitted by the Court of Cassation of Armenia.
In its request, the Court of Cassation of Armenia has asked the ECHR to provide an advisory opinion on whether the non-application of limitation periods for imposing criminal responsibility in respect of torture or equivalent criminal offences with reliance on sources of international law is compatible with Article 7 of the Convention, if domestic law does not require such non-application of those limitation periods.
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The Court delivered its advisory opinion in reply to a request from the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania on 8 April 2022.
The case concerned the legislation on impeachment, at issue in a case pending before that court.
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The Court delivered its advisory opinion in reply to a request from the Armenian Constitutional Court on 29 May 2020.
The case concerned the interpretation of an article of the Armenian Penal Code making it a criminal offence to overthrow the constitutional order and its application under Article 7 (no punishment without law) of the Convention, in the context of proceedings against the former President Robert Kocharyan.
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In response to the first request for an advisory opinion under Protocol No. 16 to the Convention, from the French Court of Cassation, the Court delivered its opinion on 10 April 2019.
The Court held that States are not obliged to register the details of the birth certificate of a child born through gestational surrogacy abroad in order to establish the legal parent-child relationship with the intended mother, as adoption may serve as a means of recognising that relationship. 

Request for advisory opinion rejected

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The Court has decided on 14 December 2020 to reject the request for an advisory opinion submitted by the Slovak Supreme Court concerning the independence of the current mechanism for assessing complaints against the police.

The ECHR considered that the points raised did not concern an issue for which the Slovak Supreme Court required guidance so that it could ensure respect for Convention rights in hearing and determining the case in question.

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On 19 February 2024, the Court has decided to reject the request for an advisory opinion submitted by a panel of the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Estonia.
The ECHR ruled that the request did not raise a “question of principle” as required by Protocol No. 16, i.e., a novel and/or complex question, since the particular issue was the subject of well-established case-law. The discontinuance of criminal proceedings by a public prosecutor amounted to neither a conviction nor an acquittal, and Article 4 of Protocol No. 7 was therefore not applicable in such a situation.

Advisory opinions - Article 47 of the Convention

Advisory opinion on certain legal questions concerning the lists of candidates submitted with a view to the election of judges to the European Court of Human Rights

Decision on the competence of the court to give an advisory opinion

Advisory opinions - Oviedo Convention

The ECHR has decided on 15 September 2021 not to accept the request for an advisory opinion submitted by the Council of Europe’s Committee on Bioethics (DH-BIO) under Article 29 of the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine, also known as “Oviedo Convention”. The DH-BIO asked the Court to provide an advisory opinion on two questions regarding the protection of the human rights and dignity of persons with mental disorders in the face of involuntary placement and/or treatment.