Friendly Settlements before the European Court of Human Rights

Even though they represent almost 50% of the applications before the European Court of Human Rights, settlements of human rights violations escape scholars’ attention. Whilst victims are increasingly pressured into resolving their disputes amicably, their counsel are unable to advise them whether they will be better off accepting settlement offers than proceeding to litigation. The paper charts the practice of friendly settlements before the Court from 1980s to today, mapping a shift in approach from seeking bilateral solutions to using settlements as a case law management tool. The study of 10,500 cases reveals how the most frequent violators before the Court are allowed to settle most cases, how they ‘package’ claims together to resolve hundreds of applications within one case, how settlements are ripe even in torture/right to life situations, and how money is used as a currency to remedy all situations regardless of its suitability or efficiency in the long-term.