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57.  This of itself does not necessarily exhaust the requirements of Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1). It must still be established that the degree of access afforded under the national legislation was sufficient to secure the individual’s “right to a court”, having regard to the rule of law in a democratic society
(see the above-mentioned Golder judgment, Series A no.18, pp. 16-18, paras. 34-35, and paragraph 92 of the report of the Commission in the present case).

Certainly, the right of access to the courts is not absolute but may be subject to limitations; these are permitted by implication since the right of access “by its very nature calls for regulation by the State, regulation which may vary in time and in place according to the needs and resources of the community and of individuals”
(see the above-mentioned Golder judgment, p. 19, para. 38, quoting the “Belgian Linguistic” judgment of 23 July 1968,Series A no. 6, p. 32, para. 5).

In laying down such regulation, the Contracting States enjoy a certain margin of appreciation. Whilst the final decision as to observance of the Convention’s requirements rests with the Court, it is no part of the Court’s function to substitute for the assessment of the national authorities any other assessment of what might be the best policy in this field (see, mutatis mutandis, the Klass and Others judgment of 6 September 1978, Series A no. 28, p. 23, para. 49).

Nonetheless, the limitations applied must not restrict or reduce the access left to the individual in such a way or to such an extent that the very essence of the right is impaired
(see the above-mentioned Golder and “Belgian Linguistic” judgments, ibid., and also the above-mentioned Winterwerp judgment, Series A no. 33, pp. 24 and 29, paras. 60 and 75).

Furthermore, a limitation will not be compatible with Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) if it does not pursue a legitimate aim and if there is not a reasonable relationship of proportionality between the means employed and the aim sought to be achieved.

[Formatted for ease of reading. For material on how the ECHR itself deals with litigants who fail to engage with the process see Rules 43 [here] , and rules 44A-44E [here] of the ECHR rules of Court 14th November 2016.]

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