Case Studies

The European Court of Human Rights

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Business Profile

INDUSTRY

Government

THE CHALLENGE

The ECHR needed a way to allow large numbers of people to securely search and share an ever-expanding library of documents.

THE SOLUTION

Workshare

KEY BENEFITS

Document search, sharing, and dissemination (push/pull) channel Creation of a user interface, based on Workshare, that integrates with ECM, DMS, and search technologies Improved search capability that improves client/case relevance.

Organization 

The European Court of Human Rights (in Strasbourg) is a supra-national court established by the European Convention on Human Rights and hears complaints that a contracting state has violated the human rights enshrined in the Convention and its protocols. Complaints can be brought by individuals or other contracting states, and the Court can also issue advisory opinions. The Convention was adopted under the auspices of the Council of Europe, and all of its 47 member states are parties to the Convention.

User Profile

ECHR rulings affect over 800 million inhabitants in 47 member states, and under the Convention (Article 44 § 3), it is required to make its judgments public and easily accessible to interested parties.

The Challenge

The ECHR wanted to develop a new document search and sharing system that would allow more than 4.6 million site visitors each year to search for and retrieve documents from an ever-expanding library of over 90,000 ECHR judgment-related documents.

The challenges were to leverage its legacy investments in SharePoint and Hummingbird DMS and to combine them with new search technologies to build an intuitive search and sharing platform that could be used by professionals and the public alike.

The Workshare Solution

The ECHR chose to build a platform based on Workshare’s search and share capabilities to meet this requirement.

The new platform, built on the organization’s HUDOC document database, combines Microsoft FAST’s search capabilities with new and innovative Workshare Web 2.0 technologies to create a unique, real-time search experience for users accessing legal-ruling documents. Workshare worked closely with the ECHR and Microsoft to improve granular search functionality of the ECHR HUDOC document library and produced an intuitive user interface hosted on Microsoft SharePoint Internet sites.

In addition to delivering the most relevant documents based on specific search criteria, the platform has also been designed to accommodate large volumes of traffic. Following a major ruling, it is typical for the ECHR’s site to receive up to 5,000 simultaneous visitors, including legal professionals, the general public, global news organizations, local legal institutions, and government institutions from many of the 47 member states of Europe.

The Benefits

The new platform developed by Workshare will ensure that the public can search for and access documents within seconds of being published. It will also provide a set of new features, such as search refiners, that will allow users to find the information they need more effectively. This will transform the document delivery process and enhance overall usability of the ECHR online document repository.