International Law in Brief
Eur. Ct. H.R. Rules in Favor of Two Lawyers Held Liable for Criticizing Judges
By: Justine N. Stefanelli | October 8, 2019 - 10:38am
On October 8, 2019, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) unanimously held that there had been a violation by two judges of the High Council of the Judiciary in Portugal of the applicants’ right to freedom of expression in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. According to a press release from the ECtHR, the case of L.P. and Carvalho v. Portugal (in French only) involved two lawyers who had complained about improper, and in one case, defamatory and discriminatory, conduct by the judges in the context of two cases. In response, one judge successfully lodged a complaint for defamation and the other judge succeeded in a civil action alleging that the lawyer had “knowingly lodged an unfounded criminal complaint” against the judge. On appeal to the ECtHR, the Strasbourg Court held that, although the national decisions finding the applicants liable pursued two legitimate aims, the extent of the interference with the right to freedom of expression was disproportionate and unnecessary. The Court awarded EUR 16,093.42 in pecuniary damages, and EUR 11,612 in costs, to the two lawyers.