Legal aid before the ECtHR

The ECtHR may grant legal aid to an applicant for the defence of his or her case.

This is subject to two conditions: the granting of such aid must be necessary for the proper conduct of the case and the applicant must not have sufficient financial means to meet all or part of the costs he or she incurs.

It is the practice of the ECtHR to refuse legal aid in certain types of cases which are deemed to be straightforward, such as the length of pre-trial detention or the length of court proceedings.

Legal aid is only granted once the written observations of the respondent State on the admissibility of the application have been received. It is therefore never used for the preparation and drafting of the application.

It is a lump sum per case, calculated according to a scale which is in principle uniform for all States Parties to the Convention and which therefore does not take into account differences in the cost of living between them.