International Judicial Monitor
Published by the International Judicial Academy, Washington, D.C., with assistance from the
American Society of International Law

Spring 2013 Issue

Justice In Profile


Dean Spielmann, Luxembourg

Dean SpielmannBy: Carolyn A. Dubay, Associate Editor, International Judicial Monitof and Assistant Professor, Charlotte Law School

In 2012, judges of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) elected a new President of the Court, Luxembourg’s Dean Spielmann.  Judge Spielmann is serving a three-year term as President, where he will direct the administration of the ECHR and serve in a multitude of other capacities.  Among the top items on his agenda will be implementing a series of reforms aimed at improving the ECHR’s case management and procedures to deal with the heavy caseload facing the Court.  Fortunately, statistics from 2012 indicated a decline in complaints for the first time, although the overall caseload at the ECHR remains extremely high.  The 128,000 cases pending at the end of 2012 indicated a decrease from 151,000 a year earlier.  Most complaints pending before the ECHR continue to originate from only four countries – Russia, Turkey, Italy and Ukraine.  With only 47 judges to handle pending matters, the overall caseload continues to be a central issue for the ECHR’s reform agenda. 

Dean Spielmann has been a judge at the ECHR since 2004 and has served in leadership positions as a Section President and then Vice-President of the Court.  Prior to joining the ECHR, Judge Spielmann was a distinguished lawyer and member of the Luxembourg Bar.  He practiced in the areas of administrative law, civil and criminal law and human rights law, including acting as counsel in a number of cases before the ECHR.  Judge 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.


Beyond his career in practice and on the bench, Judge Spielmann is an accomplished author and scholar.  Among his numerous experiences as a lecturer, he has taught at the University of Luxembourg, the Catholic University of Louvain (also in Luxembourg), and the University of Nancy (France).  He is also a certified member of the Grand-Ducal Institute. Judge Spielmann is a prolific author in the fields of criminal law and human rights, and has written a number of influential books on the effect of the European Convention on Human Rights, case law from the ECHR specific to Luxembourg, and criminal law in Luxembourg.  He is the co-founder of the Annales du droit luxembourgeois, and has been a member of numerous editorial boards, including service as member of the editorial board of the Bulletin des droits de l’homme (Luxembourg), a member of the scientific and editorial boards of the quarterly Revue trimestrielle des droits de l’homme, and a member of the editorial board of the Revue de droit pénal et de criminologie.  More recently, he has served as a member of the advisory committee of the European Review of Private Law, a member of the scientific boards/committees of the Annuaire international des droits de l’homme, the Journal des Tribunaux – Luxembourg, and the Cyprus Human Rights Law Review.  Since 2008, Judge Spielmann has also served an honorary board member of the Cambridge Student Law Review.

Dean Spielmann was born on October 26, 1962 in Luxembourg. He received his bachelor’s degree in law in 1988 from the Catholic University of Louvain, and his Master of Laws (LL.M) degree in 1990 from Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge University.

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© 2013 – The International Judicial Academy
with assistance from the American Society of International Law.

Editor: James G. Apple.
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