Document Type



The "Friendly Settlement"--the negotiated settlement of cases at the European Court of Human Rights--is on the decline. The Friendly Settlement's decline will likely provoke mixed sentiments in the international human rights camp. Some may applaud the development, including those who believe that only judgments by the Court are likely to chastise member states sufficiently and to announce standards of conduct for other states to follow. But others may shed more than a few mournful tears. An active settlement program can help reduce the Court's huge case backlog and give complaining parties a faster, and often more generous, measure of resolution of their personal suffering. Although Friendly Settlements are appropriate in some circumstances, discussion of those circumstances and the countervailing arguments are left for a later date. In light of the scant collected scholarship on this practice, an initial treatment of the topic should principally be descriptive rather than prescriptive. Thus, this paper focuses on a detailed description of Friendly Settlement procedure and practice over the first eight years of the current Court's existence.