European Court of Human Rights improves content searching with SeeUnity

The Court relies on eDOCS to store and protect valuable legal resources. SeeUnity software was used to build a FAST-powered search portal, improving search performance and usability. 

How the Court uses its information assets

The European Court of Human Rights plays a vital international role, ruling on alleged civil and political rights violations. As a judicial body, its binding authority fosters greater peace and prosperity across 47 European member states. The Court also provides training and best practices to visiting lawyers who work at the Court in Strasbourg, France for a fixed term. Visitors contribute to the Court while gaining valuable insight and knowledge into human rights law. At term’s end, these lawyers return to their country of origin, better equipped to practice and uphold the Court’s legal standards. With such regular turnover, transforming new users into proficient content consumers is a priority.

The need for FAST searching

The Court had previously deployed Microsoft FAST as the search engine behind both its public internet site and jurisprudence database, providing access to appropriate public information. FAST was provided to provide superior search performance and user tools for filtering – including segmentation according to specialisation, languages and nations.

The Court’s IT department then turned towards their own internal data. Replicating this approach with internal eDOCS resources would provide substantial bene ts to members of the Court.

“We have over four million documents in our eDOCS library,” said John Hunter, Head of the Court’s IT Department. “Maybe ten percent is needed on a regular basis. Data volume accessed by a rapidly changing user base presents a search challenge. Robust search forms aren’t enough; we need intuitive search tools that filter out extraneous ‘noise’ and return only relevant results.” 

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