The first judges at the European Human Rights Court were based in their home countries and travelled periodically to Strasbourg for court sittings. Minutes from the first meeting show they expected to meet only twenty to thirty times a year and they were undecided whether Strasbourg was the right place – some proposed The Hague or Paris as an alternative.
The judges recognised that they were setting up a “new and in some ways revolutionary institution” and that countries might not accept their judgments. They began their work slowly: from 1959 to the end of September 1998, the Court delivered 837 judgments. But the workload soon escalated, with just over a thousand judgments being made in the year 2018 alone.