Dismissed Turkish judge’s ECHR application inadmissible on basis of unexhausted domestic remedies

A Turkish judge who was dismissed in the wake of last year’s attempted coup d’état has had her application to the European Court of Human Rights unanimously declared inadmissible on the basis domestic law provides a remedy.

The case concerns the dismissal of Kadriye Çatal by the Supreme Council of Judges, pursuant to a legislative decree adopted during the state of emergency, as one of a number of measures taken after the attempted coup d’état.

The court observed in particular that a new remedy was available to Ms Çatal, provided for in Legislative Decree no. 6851, enabling her to challenge her dismissal before the Supreme Administrative Court (judicial review). The Supreme Administrative Court’s decision could then, where applicable, be challenged before the Constitutional Court (individual application).

Following an application to the Constitutional Court and a ruling by that court, anyone could, if necessary, lodge with the ECtHR a complaint based on the Convention. Legislative Decree no. 685 had therefore put an end to the dispute as to whether the domestic courts had jurisdiction to judicially review the measures taken by the Supreme Council of Judges.

The court also stated that its conclusion did not in any way prejudice a possible re-examination of the question of the effectiveness of the remedy in question, and particularly the ability of the national courts to establish consistent case-law compatible with the Convention requirements. It stressed, moreover, that it retained its ultimate power of scrutiny of any complaint submitted by applicants who, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, had exhausted the available domestic remedies.

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