Vacancy Notice N° e232/2012
Lawyer – Portugal (Grade A1/A2)
Registry of the European Court of Human Rights

Closing date: 26 October 2012
Location : Strasbourg

Job mission

Under the general authority of the Registrar of the Court and of the Head of a Legal Division of the Registry, the postholder manages case-files in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights, the Court’s procedures and the Council of Europe’s values.

Key activities

The position-holder is responsible for a certain number of case-files to be processed in English or French, and performs the following duties: 

§  manages a certain number of case-files in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights and the Court’s procedures:

-          examines and deals with applications lodged with the Court in accordance with the general time-limits, internal guidelines and specific country-management meetings instructions;

-          maintains correspondence with the applicants and, where appropriate, with Governments and third parties;  

-          advises applicants in correspondence or, if necessary, in interviews, on the conditions of admissibility of applications to the Court;

-          prepares case-files for the examination by the Judge-rapporteur and for submission to the Court;

-          ensures legal analysis; 

-          attends the Court's sessions and presents cases;

-          drafts judgments, decisions, minutes, reports, notes and other documents;

-          undertakes studies and research relating to the case-law of the ECHR and national law;

-          analyses and distributes information concerning the Court’s case-law; 

-          ensures training of junior and assistant lawyers, and, if need be, checks their draft reports. 

§  coaches team members: motivates, assesses and evaluates the performance; fosters co-operation and team spirit, encourages the team to achieve the objectives.

§  advises and reports to the Head of Division: reports on the results achieved, on further requirements, risks and opportunities of developments or events.

§  communicates in matters concerning the case-files:

-         ensures that all those concerned are informed appropriately;

-         maintains contacts with counterparts;

-         promotes the values of the European Court of Human Rights and the Council of Europe internally and externally.

Eligibility Requirements

Employee Core Values


§  Professional and technical competencies:

-          professional knowledge and expertise:  

o   university degree in law of a standard permitting access, either on the basis of qualifications or after passing a competitive examination, to the judicial administration or legal professions in Portugal;

o   two years’ professional experience acquired in the legal field (preferably in the judicial service) in Portugal or international Organisations; 

o   thorough knowledge of the Portuguese national legal system and ability to handle cases arising in other jurisdictions; 

o   knowledge of constitutional and international law.

§  Communication and linguistic skills: excellent knowledge of Portuguese (mother tongue level); very good knowledge of one of the official languages of the Council of Europe (English or French) and good knowledge of the other; knowledge of other European languages would be an advantage; ability to draft legal texts clearly and precisely in English or French. 

§  Personal values: integrity, loyalty and conscience, discretion, independence and confidence, respect for diversity, commitment to the judicial independence of the Court. 


For more information, please refer to the competency inventory of the Council of Europe.

Additional information

The Organisation 


The Council of Europe is a political organisation founded in 1949 in order to promote greater unity between its members. It now numbers 47 member States. The Organisation’s main aims are to promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and to develop common responses to political, social, cultural and legal challenges in its member States. Since 1989 it has integrated most of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and supported them in their efforts to implement and consolidate their reforms.


The Council of Europe has its permanent headquarters in Strasbourg (France). By Statute, it has two constituent organs: the Committee of Ministers, composed of the member States’ Ministers for Foreign Affairs, and the Parliamentary Assembly, comprising delegations from the national parliaments. The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe represents the entities of local and regional self-government within the member States.


The European Court of Human Rights is the judicial body competent to adjudicate complaints brought against a state by individuals, associations or other contracting states on grounds of violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.




Applications must be made in English or French using the Council of Europe on-line application system.  By connecting to our website you can create and submit your on-line application.  Applications must be submitted by 26 October 2012 (midnight Central European Summer Time) at the latest. 


The selection procedure may vary according to the specific requirements of the job vacancy. It consists of preliminary selection and can include ability tests, behavioural questionnaires, job related examinations, situational exercises, language tests, interviews and full assessment centres.


Depending on the number of applicants, the length of the required professional experience may be increased.  


Candidates with the best results in the previous stages of the procedure (tests, exams, etc.) will, as a last stage of the procedure, be invited for an interview.


Following this competition, a reserve list of successful candidates, in order of merit, may be established. This list will be valid for two years with the possibility of extending it to a maximum of four years. It should be noted that placement on a reserve list does not give candidates the right to an appointment within the Council of Europe.  Moreover, the choice of candidates from a reserve list is not made solely according to the order of merit.  


During the period of validity of the reserve list, candidates on the list may be offered employment fixed-term or indefinite duration. The total length of employment under fixed-term contracts will not exceed five years. The first year of employment will constitute a probationary period.


The compulsory retirement age is 65.


For the moment, this position is limited until 31 August 2013, and may be prolonged. 


Details on conditions of employment including salaries, allowances, pension scheme and social insurance can be consulted on our recruitment website. 


Under its equal opportunities policy, the Council of Europe is aiming to achieve parity in the number of women and men employed in each category and grade. In the event of equal merit, preference will therefore be given to the applicant belonging to the under-represented sex.


The Council of Europe welcomes applications from all suitably qualified candidates, irrespective of gender, disability, marital or parental status, racial, ethnic or social origin, colour, religion, belief or sexual orientation.


During the different stages of the recruitment procedure, specific measures may be taken to ensure equal opportunities for candidates with disabilities.