The text below discusses the grounds for referral of the case “Drėlingas v. Lithuania” to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights.
Unfortunately the case was not referred to the Grand Chamber for review. It failed to be referred to the Grand Chamber not because there were not enough grounds, however. It should not be forgotten that the Grand Chamber of ECHR is not much like an appeals instance in the national court systems. Usually an appeals instance would take any appeal submitted in time. The cassation courts would accept any appeal that challenges the previous decisions based on the interpretation of the law. But it is not so with the Grand Chamber of ECHR. According to the Chancellery of the Court only ~5% of all cases that are appealed are examined by the Grand Chamber. That is, one case in twenty. Same happened in the case of Drėlingas v. Lithuania: 20 applications were rejected and one was accepted for review by a panel of five judges. Therefore, though the Chamber decision in the Drėlingas case did enter into force once the panel of five judges chose a different case as a more important one on September 9, 2019, the reasoning in the Chamber case is still superceded by the decision of the Grand Chamber in the case Vasiliauskas v. Lithuania. The text below explains, why I think the Chamber in Drėlingas case was wrong.