London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

International human rights & fact-finding

In 2007-8, HRSJ conducted research on the European Court’s fact-finding procedure, a process that investigates particularly serious violations of human rights in situations where there is insufficient evidence for the Court to draw a conclusion on an applicant’s case. The purpose of the research was to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the fact-finding process and to make recommendations for reform. The research incorporated qualitative and quantitative methods, carried out by way of postal questionnaire and semi-structured interviews of those who are, or have been, involved in the fact-finding process, including European Court judges and lawyers, and the parties’ legal representatives.

The research was launched at a seminar hosted by the project’s funder, the Nuffield Foundation.

The research project was conducted by Prof. Philip Leach (HRSJ), Gordana Uzelac (senior lecturer in quantitative sociology, London Metropolitan University) and Costas Paraskeva (research assistant and PhD candidate). It was supported by a distinguished advisory panel comprising: Ian Christie, barrister, Five Raymond Buildings; Professor Francoise Hampson, Essex University; Dr. Todd Landman, Essex University; Professor Manfred Nowak, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture; and the Rt. Hon Lord Justice Stephen Sedley.


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