The President

ECHR Building

President Dean Spielmann

President Dean Spielmann

Dean Spielmann studied at the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium) and Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge (United Kingdom). He became a member of the Luxembourg Bar in 1989. As a lawyer he worked in various fields, including administrative law, civil and criminal law and human rights law. He acted as Counsel in a number of cases before the Commission and Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. He was also a member of the Bar Council and the Disciplinary and Administrative Council of the Legal Profession, as well as sitting on various committees of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE).

Dean Spielmann has also been a member of the European Union Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights and the Advisory Commission on Human Rights of Luxembourg.

He has taught at the universities of Louvain Luxembourg and Nancy (France) and is a certified member of the Grand-Ducal Institute.

Dean Spielmann is an Honorary Fellow of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, an Honorary Professor of University College London and an Honorary Bencher of Gray’s Inn, London. He is doctor honoris causa of the State University of Yerevan.

Since 2004 Dean Spielmann has been a judge at the European Court of Human Rights, where he was elected Section President in 2010 and Vice-President of the Court in 2012, before being elected President of the Court in September 2012.

Dean Spielmann is the author of numerous publications on criminal law and human rights, amongst other subjects.

Full CV

Main publications

Photo gallery of President Dean Spielmann

Presidency of the Court

The plenary Court elects its President, for a period of three years, provided that such period does not exceed the duration of the President's term of office. The President continues to hold office until the election of his or her successors.

The President of the Court directs the work and administration of the Court. The President represents the Court and, in particular, is responsible for its relations with the authorities of the Council of Europe. The President presides at plenary meetings of the Court, meetings of the Grand Chamber and meetings of the panel of five judges. The President does not take part in the consideration of cases being heard by Chambers except where he or she is the judge elected in respect of a Contracting Party concerned.


Interview given by President Spielmann on the BBC television programme HARDtalk - 14/01/2014

Video of the interview

Visit by the President of Austria

Official visits

  • Visit to Lithuania

    Visit to Lithuania

    On 12 September 2014, President Spielmann paid an official visit to Lithuania. On that occasion, he was received by the President of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaitė. During his visit, he also met the Minister of Justice, Juozas Bernatonis, the President of the Supreme Court, Gintaras Kryževičius, the President of the Constitutional Court, Dainius Žalimas, and judges of the Constitutional Court. President Spielmann was accompanied by Egidijus Kūris, Judge elected in respect of Lithuania, and Roderick Liddell, Director of Common Services.

  • Visit by the Minister of Justice of Switzerland

    Visit by the Minister of Justice of Switzerland

    On 5 September 2014, Simonetta Sommaruga, Member of the Swiss Federal Council, Head of the Federal Department of Justice and Police, visited the Court and was received by President Spielmann. Helen Keller, the judge elected in respect of Switzerland, and Michael O’Boyle, Deputy Registrar, also attended the meeting.

  • Voluntary contribution by Norway to the Court’s special account

    Voluntary contribution by Norway to the Court’s special account

    President Spielmann, Erik Fribergh, Registrar, and Ambassador Astrid Emilie Helle, Permanent Representative of Norway to the Council of Europe, met on 2 September 2014 on the occasion of a contribution of NOK 2 million (approximately 240,000 euros) to the Court's special account. This generous contribution makes it possible for the Court to recruit additional lawyers to help further reduce the backlog of priority cases.

    In announcing the contribution, the Norwegian Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe, Astrid Emilie Helle, made the following statement: “Norway attaches the highest importance to multilateral organisations whose defence of international law is particularly crucial at times of crisis like the present. In this context the European Convention on Human Rights is by far the most effective system of international human rights protection that the world has ever known. The Court’s work in enforcing the Convention is of very great value to the member States of the Council of Europe and indeed to the international community as a whole. We believe that the Court deserves our full-hearted support”.

    Press release

  • Visit to Montenegro

    Visit to Montenegro

    On 10 and 11 July 2014 President Spielmann paid an official visit to Montenegro. On that occasion, he was received by the President of Montenegro, Filip Vujanović. During his visit he also met the President of Government of Montenegro, Milo Đukanović, the President of Parliament, Ranko Krivokapić, the President of the Constitutional Court, Desanka Lopičić, the Vice-president of Government and Minister of Justice, Duško Marković. During his stay, he had meetings with Vesna Medenica, President of the Supreme Court of Montenegro and judges of this Supreme Court. President Spielmann was accompanied by Johan Callewaert, Grand Chamber Registrar.


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President's news

  • ECRI’s 64th plenary meeting, Strasbourg

    ECRI’s 64th plenary meeting, Strasbourg

    On 17 June 2014, President Spielmann took part in an exchange of views with the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI). He was welcomed by Christian Ahlund, ECRI’s Chair. President Spielmann was accompanied by Erik Fribergh, Registrar.

  • Comparative-Law Seminar

    Comparative-Law Seminar

    On 16 May 2014 President Spielmann opened a comparative-law seminar on the concepts of acceptability and legitimacy, organised on the initiative of judges from the European Supreme Courts.

    Speech by President Spielmann (in French only)


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Recent speeches by the President

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