First judgment of the ECHR: Lawless v. Ireland

60 years ago, on 14 November 1960, the Court delivered its first judgment, Lawless v. Ireland, with René Cassin as its President.

The judgment concerned preliminary objections and procedural questions regarding the application, on which a judgment on the merits was delivered the following year.

Since its inauguration the Court has delivered 23,291 judgments on just over 51,650 applications.

The case was filed by Gerard Richard Lawless, who had been an IRA member, although he claimed to have left the IRA. He was arrested on 11 July 1957, as he was about to travel to Great Britain from Ireland, and subsequently detained under the special powers of indefinite detention without trial under the Offences against the State (Amendment) Act 1940. The case was filed by Lawless for violation, by the Irish Government, of Articles 5, 6 and 7 of the European Convention of Human Rights, providing rights to liberty and security, fair trial and the principle of 'no punishment without law'.

The Irish government's case was presented by the then Attorney General of Ireland, Aindrias Ó Caoimh, while Lawless was represented by Seán MacBride. (source: ECHR / wikipedia)

The judgment is available here

Video is available here

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Editorial

Editorial
George Kazoleas, Lawyer

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