Manifestly ill-founded … by a majority

In this post I want to flag three inadmissibility decisions, delivered by the Court’s Chambers over the past few months, in which the applicant’s claims are declared manifestly ill-founded, by a majority. Like so many inadmissibility decisions, the three summarised below may have easily passed under the radar of many of our readers. These particular decisions are nevertheless worth pointing out, because they raise a number of important questions and concerns. How manifestly ill-founded can a claim really be if a Chamber of seven Judges reaches that conclusion by a majority? Moreover, what does “by a majority” mean in these cases? How many Judges disagreed? And what did their disagreement entail? Did the Judge(s) in the minority consider the claim worthy of an examination on the merits? Or were they of the opinion that the Convention rights of the applicant had been violated?

None of these questions can be satisfactorily answered, for two reasons. Firstly because – unlike in judgments – no information is given on the division in the Chamber that delivered these decisions. The decision merely states “manifestly ill-founded, by a majority”, without indicating how many Judges disagreed. Secondly, because there is no room for separate opinions in decisions. We can thus not know why the Judge(s) in the minority disagreed on the finding that the claim was manifestly ill-founded. As a result of both factors, we are left puzzled as to what “manifestly ill-founded, by a majority”, a seemingly contradictory statement, might mean.

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