The first COVID-19 related collective complaint before the European Committee of Social Rights deemed inadmissible: Greek Bar Associations v. Greece.

By Maria Kotsoni, PhD researcher at the Department of Law of the European University Institute

Just a few months after the inadmissibility judgement of Le Mailloux v. France, another inadmissibility decision was adopted in a case related to states’ socio-economic management of the COVID-19 crisis. Only this time it was the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR), the monitoring body of the European Social Charter (ESC), that dismissed a complaint as inadmissible within the context of the collective complaints procedure. The complaint against Greece was lodged on 28 May 2020 by the Greek Bar Associations. The complainant organizations alleged a violation of several provisions of the ESC on various grounds. The ECSR found the complaint inadmissible in a decision adopted on 23 March 2021, despite its prompt interpretative response to the COVID-19 crisis paving the way for challenging states’ responses to the pandemic as incompatible with socio-economic rights obligations (see Statement of interpretation on the right to protection of health in times of pandemic, Statement on COVID-19 and Social Rights).

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