«Сабадаш проти України»: Поновлення судом пропущеного строку на оскарження рішення без належного обґрунтування порушує принцип юридичної визначеності (ст. 6 Конвенції, заява № 28052/13, від 23.07.2019 р.)
Фабула судового акта: Заявник, громадянин України О.П. Сабадаш, звернувся до ЄСПЛ зі скаргою на невиправдане втручання прокурора в цивільне провадження в його справі, на необґрунтоване відновлення судового процесу, а також щодо скасування остаточного рішення, яке набрало законної сили.
Заявник здійснив прибудову до будинку, в якому знаходилася його квартира. Прибудова було демонтовано сусідами Заявника та представниками місцевої влади. Заявник звернувся до суду з позовом до сусудів з вимогою щодо відшкодування завданої їхніми діями матеріальної та моральної шкоди. Суд першої інстанції відмовив у задоволенні позову, проте апеляційний суд задовольнив позовні вимоги Заявника; рішення набрало законної сили і було виконане відповідачами.
Після набрання рішенням законної сили і його виконання, заступник обласного прокурора з власної ініціативи), і уже після закінчення строку на оскарження рішення, подав в інтересах відповідачів (з огляду на їхній вік та фінансовий стан) касаційну скаргу з питань права. Суд касаційної інстанції задовольнив скаргу прокурора, відзначивши, що висновки суду першої інстанції щодо незаконності здійснення прибудови були правильними, а суд апеляційної інстанції помилково скасував рішення. Заявник повернув відповідачам сплачені ними кошти.
ЄСПЛ нагадав, що якщо звичайний строк оскарження поновлюється зі спливом значного періоду часу, і без необхідності виправлення серйозних судових помилок, таке рішення може порушити принцип правової визначеності. Попри те, що саме національним судам, перш за все, належить виносити рішення про поновлення строку оскарження, їх свобода розсуду не є необмеженою. При поновленні пропущеного строку суд повинен належним чином обґрунтувати своє рішення.
ЄСПЛ підкреслив, що суд касаційної інстанції у даній справі не мав необмеженого розсуду щодо відновлення розгляду після подання із значним запізненням апеляції заступника прокурора; суд повинен був застосовувати процесуальні норми, керуючись принципом правової визначеності. ЄСПЛ звернув увагу на те, що суд просто підтримав доводи скарги заступника прокурора про пропущення строку на оскарження з «поважних причин», проте належним чином не обґрунтував таке рішення. З огляду на вказане, ЄСПЛ констатував порушення пункту 1 статті 6 Конвенції у зв'язку з відсутністю належного обґрунтування поновлення провадження у справі Заявника.
ЄСПЛ відхилив скаргу Заявника на порушення статті 1 Першого Протоколу до Конвенції у зв'язку зі скасуванням остаточного рішення у справі як явно необґрунтовану.
Аналізуйте судовий акт: «Пономарьов проти України» (Ponomaryov v. Ukraine), заява № 3236/03
«Устименко проти України» (Ustimenko v. Ukraine), заява № 32053/13
«Дія 97» проти України» (Diya 97 v. Ukraine), заява № 19164/04
«Агрокомплекс проти України» (Agrokompleks v. Ukraine) ,заява № 23465/03
«Україна-Тюмень проти України» (Ukraine-Tyumen v. Ukraine), заява № 22603/02
CASE OF SABADASH v. UKRAINE
(Application no. 28052/13)
23 July 2019
This judgment is final but it may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of Sabadash v. Ukraine,
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting as a Committee composed of:
Georges Ravarani, President,
Péter Paczolay, judges,
and Andrea Tamietti, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 2 July 2019,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
1. The case originated in an application (no. 28052/13) against Ukraine lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by a Ukrainian national, Mr Oleg Petrovych Sabadash (“the applicant”), on 16 April 2013.
2. The applicant was represented by Mr O. Shapovalov, a lawyer practising in Kherson. The Ukrainian Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mr I. Lishchyna of the Ministry of Justice.
3. The applicant complained, in the main, under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention, about the public prosecutor’s unjustified intervention in the domestic civil proceedings and about the unjustified reopening of those proceedings. He also complained under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 that the final judgment in his favour had been quashed and his action dismissed.
4. On 23 August 2016 those complaints were communicated to the Government and the remainder of the application was declared inadmissible pursuant to Rule 54 § 3 of the Rules of Court.
- THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
5. The applicant was born in 1970 and lives in Kherson.
6. Between May and September 2007 the applicant built an extension to the building in which his flats were located, attaching theroof of the extension to a balcony and wall belonging to the flat of his neighbours, Mr and Ms S., who lived upstairs. The lawfulness of his actions was contested by the authorities and his neighbours. In October 2007 his neighbours dismantled part of the impugned construction. In particular, they cut off part of the roof attached to their balcony and their wall. In December 2009 another part of the construction was dismantled by a specialised company on the instructions of the local authorities.
7. In October 2010 the applicant instituted civil proceedings against his neighbours in the Komsomolskyy District Court of Kherson,seeking compensation for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage caused to him by their dismantling of part of the extension in October 2007. As to the pecuniary damage claimed, the applicant relied on Article 1166 of the Civil Code of 2003 (see paragraph 23 below).
8. On 14 July 2011 the District Court rejected the applicant’s compensation claim as wholly unsubstantiated, finding that theimpugned extension had been constructed illegally and that the applicant had failed to prove that any damage had been caused to his property or to his construction material.
9. On 27 September 2011 the Kherson Regional Court of Appeal, having examined an appeal lodged by the applicant, quashed the judgment of 14 July 2011 and delivered a new judgment. It noted that the applicant’s neighbours had not denied that they haddismantled part of the extension and that they had not proved that the dismantled material belonging to the applicant had been returned to him or that it had been in a condition enabling it to be reused. Nor had they contested the amount of pecuniary damage allegedly caused to the applicant. The appellate court held that the applicant’s neighbours had acted without lawful authorisation and withouthaving informed the applicant. Relying mainly on Article 1166 of the Civil Code of 2003, the appellate court awarded the applicant9,659.36 Ukrainian hryvnias (UAH), the equivalent of about 890 euros (EUR) at the material time, for the pecuniary damage suffered, based on the cost of the construction material, and UAH 411.59, the equivalent of about EUR 40 at the material time, for court fees. The applicant’s claim in respect of non‑pecuniary damage was rejected as unsubstantiated.
10. The appellate court’s judgment of 27 September 2011 became binding and enforceable on the same date (see paragraph 24below).
11. No further appeal was lodged against the appellate court’s judgment of 27 September 2011 within the twenty-day period provided for in Article 325 of the Code of Civil Procedure of 2004 (see paragraph 24 below).
12. In March 2012 the applicant’s neighbours paid him the judgment debt in full.
13. On 5 April 2012 the Kherson regional deputy prosecutor lodged an appeal on points of law (“cassation appeal”, касаційна скарга) with the Higher Specialised Court in Civil and Criminal Matters (“the HSC”) against the appellate court’s judgment of 27September 2011. He stated that he was intervening on behalf of the defendants because they were pensioners and were in a difficult financial situation, but provided no further explanation in that regard. The deputy prosecutor also asked the HSC to extend the time‑limit for lodging such an appeal, arguing that the Kherson regional prosecutor’s office had learned of the contested judgment from an application which Ms S. had lodged with it on 4 April 2012. A copy of that application and copies of the pension certificates of the applicant’s neighbours were joined to the deputy prosecutor’s appeal. The pension certificates stated that the applicant’s neighbours were entitled to a monthly pension totalling UAH 730.71, the equivalent of about EUR 67 at the material time.
14. As to the merits of the case, the deputy prosecutor contended that the appellate court’s judgment had been erroneous. In particular, the court had disregarded the fact that the applicant had constructed the impugned extension illegally and had failed tosubmit the necessary documentary evidence that any damage had been caused to his property or to his construction material. The appellate court had also failed to provide reasons for awarding the applicant the specific amount of compensation for pecuniary damage.
15. On 11 May 2012 the HSC granted the requested extension of the time-limit (see paragraph 13 above), finding that it had been missed for “justifiable reasons”. No further details were given in that regard. The proceedings were accordingly reopened.
16. On 10 June 2012 the applicant lodged with the HSC his objections to the appeal, arguing that it was unsubstantiated, that the time-limit for lodging the appeal had been extended unlawfully, and that the Kherson regional deputy prosecutor had acted in violation ofthe principle of legal certainty recognised in the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights.
17. On 24 October 2012 the HSC allowed the deputy prosecutor’s appeal, quashed the appellate court’s judgment of 27 September 2011 (see paragraph 9 above) and upheld the Komsomolskyy District Court’s judgment of 14 July 2011 (see paragraph 8 above). The HSC held that the first-instance court’s findings – that the applicant had constructed the extension illegally and failed to prove that his neighbours had caused any damage to his property – had been correct and that the appellate court had erroneously quashed the judgment of 14 July 2011. The HSC also found that the applicant had no title to the extension, whereas under Article 386 § 3 of the Civil Code of 2003 (see paragraph 23 below) only owners had the right to compensation for pecuniary damage in the event of a violation oftheir property rights.
18. On 12 April 2013 the applicant returned to his neighbours the full amount he had received pursuant to the judgment of 27September 2011.
19. According to the applicant, in the proceedings before the courts of first and appeal instances his neighbours had beenrepresented by a lawyer.
20. In the meantime, in April 2012 the applicant had lodged a civil claim with the Komsomolskyy District Court, seeking compensation for the dismantling of the extension in December 2009 (see paragraph 6 above).
21. By a decision of 8 April 2013, the Kherson Regional Court of Appeal dismissed the applicant’s claim as unsubstantiated,holding that as a general rule, anyone who erected a construction illegally acquired no title to such construction and had no right to compensation for any damage caused by the dismantling thereof. The appellate court relied mainly on Article 386 § 3 of the Civil Code of 2003 (see paragraph 23 below).
22. The applicant stated that he had lodged an appeal on points of law against the decision of 8 April 2013, but provided no information as to its outcome.
RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW
- Civil Code of 2003
23. The relevant extracts from the Civil Code of 2003, as worded at the material time, read as follows:
Article 386. Principles of protection of the right to property
3. An owner whose rights have been breached shall be entitled to compensation for any pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage caused to him.”
2. The person who caused the damage shall be released from [the obligation] to compensate for it if he or she proves that the damage caused was not his or her fault.
- Code of Civil Procedure of 2004
24. The relevant extracts from the Code of Civil Procedure of 2004, as worded at the material time, read as follows:
Article 45. Participation of bodies or persons entitled by law to protect the rights, freedoms and interests of others in civil proceedings
2. A prosecutor may bring a civil claim before a court ... and also intervene at any stage of proceedings initiated by others, lodge an appeal, cassationappeal and an application for review of the judicial decision ... for the purpose of representing a citizen’s or the State’s interests before the court. In this connection, the prosecutor must submit to the court documents confirming that the citizen cannot present his or her own [case].
Article 46. Procedural rights of bodies and persons entitled by law to protect the rights, freedoms and interests of others
“1. Bodies and persons who apply to a court in the interests of other persons or those of the State or society shall have the same procedural rights and obligations as the person in whose interests they are acting, except for the right to conclude a friendly-settlement agreement.
4. A prosecutor who did not take part in the case may study the case material at the court in order to decide whether there are grounds for lodging an appeal, a cassation appeal, an application for review of the judgment ...”
Article 67. Types of procedural time-limits
“1. The time-limits during which procedural measures are to be performed shall be set by law, and if they have not been set by law [the time-limits shall be] set by the court.”
Article 73. Renewal or extension of procedural time-limits
“1. A court shall renew or extend the time-limit ... at the request of a party ... if it has been missed for justifiable reasons.
2. The question of renewing or extending an expired time-limit shall be decided by the court ... to which a document or evidence was due to be submitted. The persons taking part in the proceedings shall be informed of the place and time of consideration of that question. Their presence is not compulsory.
3. The document or other evidence which is the subject of the request [for renewal or extension of the time-limit] may be submitted together with the request ...”
Article 82. Allowing delayed payment or payment by instalments of court expenses, reduction of their amount or releasing [a party from the obligation] to pay them
“1. Taking into account the party’s financial situation, the court may issue a ruling granting an extension of the time-limit for paying the court fee or allowing [that party] to pay it by instalments during a specified period of time before a judicial decision is adopted in the case.
3. The court may, for the reasons set out in the first paragraph of this Article, reduce the sum of the court expenses related to the consideration of the case or release [the party from the obligation] to pay them.
Article 319. Legal force of rulings and judgments of the appellate courts
“1. The appellate court’s judgment or ruling shall have legal effect upon pronouncement.”
Article 324. Right to challenge [judicial decisions] in cassation
“1. The parties and other persons taking part in the case ... have the right to challenge in cassation:
1) judgments of the court of first instance, after they have been reviewed on appeal, judgments and rulings of the appellate court adopted [in the course of] consideration [of the case] on appeal;
2. The wrongful application by the court of norms of substantive law or a violation of norms of procedural law constitutes grounds for lodging a cassationappeal.”
Article 325. Time-limit for lodging a cassation appeal
“1. A cassation appeal ... may be lodged within twenty days of the date on which the judgment (ruling) of the appellate court took legal effect.
2. If the time-limit ... was missed for reasons which the court recognised to be justifiable, the court of cassation instance may, at the request of the person who lodged the cassation appeal, renew that time-limit.”
Article 328. Opening of cassation proceedings
3. The court of cassation instance shall refuse to open cassation proceedings if the prosecutor’s ... cassation appeal was lodged more than one year after the contested judgment had taken legal effect [had become binding].
Article 335. Scope of consideration of the case by the court of cassation instance
“1. In the course of consideration of the case in cassation, the court shall verify, within the limits of the cassation appeal, the accuracy of the application of norms of substantive or procedural law by the courts of first or appeal instances, [but it] shall have no power to establish or to hold proven facts which were not established in the judgment or dismissed by it, [or] to decide on the question of the reliability ... of [particular] evidence or of the weight to beattached to certain evidence ...
2. The court of cassation instance shall [examine the question of] the lawfulness of judicial decisions only within the limits of the claims raised before the court of first instance.
3. The court shall not be limited by the arguments of the cassation appeal if, in the course of consideration of the case, [it] discerns the wrongful application of norms of substantive law or a violation of the norms of procedural law, constituting grounds for the compulsory quashing of the judicialdecision.”
Article 336. Powers of the court of cassation instance
“1. ... [T]he court of cassation instance has the power to:
(1) adopt a ruling dismissing the cassation appeal and leaving the [contested] decision in force;
(2) adopt a ruling fully or partly quashing the decision and remitting the case to the court of first instance or appeal for fresh consideration;
(3) adopt a ruling quashing the appellate court’s decision and leaving in force the judicial decision which was erroneously quashed by the court of appeal;
(4) adopt a ruling quashing the judicial decisions and terminating the proceedings in the case or leaving the claim without consideration;
(5) quash the judicial decisions and adopt a new judgment or vary the judgment [on the merits of the case], without remitting it for fresh consideration.
Article 339. Grounds for quashing judicial decisions and leaving in force the judicial decision which was erroneously quashed
“1. If it finds that the appellate court quashed a judicial decision which had been adopted in accordance with the law, the court of cassation instance shall quash the appellate court’s decision and leave in force the first-instance court’s decision.”
- ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION
25. The applicant complained that the public prosecutor’s intervention in support of his opponents in the domestic proceedings and the extension of the time-limit for the prosecutor’s appeal had been contrary to the principles of equality of arms and legal certainty. He relied on Article 6 of the Convention, which reads, in so far as relevant, as follows:
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ... everyone is entitled to a fair ... hearing ... by [a] ... tribunal ...”
26. The Court notes that these complaints are not manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 (a) of the Convention. It further notes that they are not inadmissible on any other grounds. They must therefore be declared admissible.
27. The Court further notes that the applicant’s complaints essentially concern two issues: (i) the public prosecutor’s allegedly unjustified intervention in the domestic proceedings; and (ii) the allegedly unjustified reopening of those proceedings. The Court willexamine the latter complaint first.
- Reopening of the proceedings terminated by the judgment of the Kherson Regional Court of Appeal of 27 September 2011
(a) The parties’ submissions
28. The Government argued that there had been no violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention. In particular, because of their difficult financial situation and advanced age, the applicant’s neighbours had been unable to lodge an appeal on points of law themselves indue time. The prosecutor had therefore intervened on their behalf, seeking to have the appellate court’s incorrect decision reconsidered. In contrast with the situation in Ponomaryov v. Ukraine (no. 3236/03, 3 April 2008), in the present case the time-limit for lodging such an appeal had been extended after a short delay – six months after its expiry – and the difficult financial situation of the applicant’s neighbours had been self‑evident. Furthermore, in accordance with the Court’s case-law, it was primarily for the national courts to interpret domestic rules of procedure, while the Court’s role was limited to verifying whether the effects of such interpretationwere compatible with the Convention.
29. The applicant contested those arguments, stating that it had not been demonstrated that his neighbours had been unable to afford the relevant fees and the costs of preparing an appeal on points of law, which would not have exceeded UAH 700, the equivalent of about EUR 65 at the material time. Nor had they ever asked for a delay in the payment of the court fees, or their reduction, or to bereleased from the obligation to pay them, which they could have done under Article 82 of the Code of Civil Procedure of 2004 (see paragraph 24 below). Furthermore, his neighbours had not sought free legal assistance under the Legal Aid Act of 2011.
(b) The Court’s assessment
30. The Court notes that the impugned proceedings were terminated by the judgment of the Kherson Regional Court of Appeal of 27 September 2011 (see paragraph 9 above), which was favourable to the applicant and against which no appeal on points of law was lodged within the statutory twenty-day time-limit then in force (see paragraph 11 above). Following an appeal lodged by the Khersonregional deputy prosecutor, acting in the interests of the applicant’s opponents, about six months after the expiry of that time-limit the proceedings were reopened; that judgment was eventually quashed and the first-instance judgment unfavourable to the applicant was upheld (see paragraphs 10, 11, 13, 15 and 17 above).
31. In several previous cases raising somewhat similar procedural issues, the Court has held that, if the time-limit for an ordinary appeal is extended after a considerable lapse of time, without any need for correction of serious judicial errors and miscarriages of justice, such a decision can breach the principle of legal certainty. While it is primarily within the domestic courts’ discretion to decide on any extension of the time-limit for an appeal, such discretion is not unlimited. In every case, the domestic courts should verify whether the reasons for extending the time-limit for an appeal are justifiable and are also required to indicate the reasons for their decision to extend the time-limit (see, for example, Ponomaryov, cited above, § 41, and Ustimenko v. Ukraine, no. 32053/13, § 47, 29 October 2015).
32. In the present case, the proceedings were reopened after a delay of about six months, which is substantially shorter than the delays of over two years and one year respectively in Ponomaryov and Ustimenko (both cited above). However, this does not mean that, in the present case, for the purposes of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention, the HSC enjoyed unfettered discretion when considering whether to reopen the proceedings following the belated appeal of the Kherson regional deputy prosecutor. The HSC was required to apply the relevant procedural rules in compliance with the principle of legal certainty (see, for instance, Diya 97 v. Ukraine, no. 19164/04, § 47, 21 October 2010, with further references).
33. It transpires that the HSC simply endorsed the deputy prosecutor’s argument – that the time-limit had been missed for “justifiable reasons” as he had become aware of the judgment of the Kherson Regional Court of Appeal of 27 September 2011 from an application lodged with his office by one of the applicant’s opponents on 4 April 2012 – and granted the requested extension of thetime-limit (see paragraphs 13 and 15 above).
34. Consequently, there has been a violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention on account of the lack of proper justification for thereopening of the proceedings in the applicant’s case.
- Public prosecutor’s allegedly unjustified intervention in the domestic proceedings
35. In the light of the foregoing finding of a violation of Article 6 § 1 (see paragraph 34 above), the Court considers it unnecessary to examine the applicant’s closely related complaint under the same provision regarding the allegedly unjustified intervention of the public prosecutor in the domestic proceedings leading to their reopening (see paragraphs 25 and 27 above).
- ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 1 OF PROTOCOL No. 1 TO THE CONVENTION
36. The applicant complained of a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 on account of the quashing of the judgment of the Kherson Regional Court of Appeal of 27 September 2011 and the eventual dismissal of his action. Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 reads as follows:
“Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law.
The preceding provisions shall not, however, in any way impair the right of a State to enforce such laws as it deems necessary to control the use of property in accordance with the general interest or to secure the payment of taxes or other contributions or penalties.”
37. The Government contended that this complaint was unsubstantiated, as the applicant had had no title to the extension which he had built unlawfully. Nor did he have a “legitimate expectation”, within the meaning of the Court’s case law under Article 1 of ProtocolNo. 1, to be recognised as the owner of that construction.
38. The applicant disagreed, stating that the argument of the unlawfulness of the construction had had no implication for hisownership title to the construction material which had been destroyed by his neighbours.
39. The Court notes that this part of the case concerns the alleged violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 on account of the quashingof the binding and enforceable judgment of the Kherson Regional Court of Appeal of 27 September 2011, awarding the applicant a sum of money. In that connection, the Court reiterates that the existence of a debt confirmed by a binding and enforceable judgment furnishes the judgment beneficiary with a “legitimate expectation” that the debt will be paid and constitutes the beneficiary’s “possessions” within the meaning of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1. Quashing such a judgment therefore amounts to an interference with the right to peaceful enjoyment of possessions (see, among others, Agrokompleks v. Ukraine, no. 23465/03, § 166, 6 October 2011).
40. The Court has already found that the reopening of the terminated proceedings in the present case, which preceded the quashing at issue, was in violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention in that it lacked proper justification (see paragraph 34 above).
41. However, that finding does not necessarily mean that the subsequent examination of the merits of the deputy prosecutor’s appeal on points of law by the HSC, culminating in the quashing of the judgment favourable to the applicant, was deficient or took theimpugned interference with the right of property outside the scope of the “principle of lawfulness” (see, mutatis mutandis, Ukraine-Tyumen v. Ukraine, no. 22603/02, § 52, 22 November 2007, and Industrial Financial Consortium Investment Metallurgical Union v. Ukraine, no. 10640/05, § 198, 26 June 2018). Nor does that finding, of itself, form sufficient basis for a conclusion that the interferenceat issue was unjustified (see, mutatis mutandis, Industrial Financial Consortium Investment Metallurgical Union, cited above, §§ 199-200).
42. In that connection, the Court notes the applicant provided no reason why he considered that the quashing of the judgment of the Kherson Regional Court of Appeal of 27 September 2011 had been contrary to the guarantees of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1. His submissions under that provision are limited to contesting the domestic courts’ factual findings and legal assessment of his action, which submissions the Court does not find to be duly substantiated or persuasive.
43. Furthermore, the applicant did not argue that he had been denied the opportunity effectively to pursue his action before the HSC and there is no basis for a finding that the reopened proceedings were flawed to the extent that their outcome could not be accepted (compare and contrast with Sovtransavto Holding v. Ukraine, no. 48553/99, §§ 97-98, ECHR 2002‑VII, and Agrokompleks, cited above, §§ 135, 138 and 170). Sovtransavto Holding and Agrokompleks, cited above, are exceptional cases in which the Court has found a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 on account of the unfair manner in which the relevant court proceedings had been conducted, including the “blatant interference” of the State authorities at the highest level in those proceedings. The Court discerns no such situation in the instant case.
44. In the light of the foregoing, the Court finds that the applicant’s complaint under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 is manifestly ill‑founded, and rejects it pursuant to Article 35 §§ 3 (a) and 4 of the Convention.
- APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION
45. Article 41 of the Convention provides:
“If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party concerned allows only partial reparation to be made, the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.”
46. The applicant claimed 2,071 euros (EUR) in respect of pecuniary damage, essentially based on the cost of the material he had used to construct the part of the extension to his flat which had eventually been dismantled by his neighbours. He also claimed EUR3,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage on account of the violation of the Convention in his case.
47. The Government contested those claims. In particular, they reiterated their argument that the applicant had had no title to theextension he had constructed and that consequently his claim for compensation for the damage caused to that construction was wholly unsubstantiated (see paragraph 37 above). They also stated that his claim in respect of non‑pecuniary damage was exorbitant and unfounded.
48. The Court considers that the applicant has not shown the existence of a causal link between the violation found and the pecuniary damage alleged by him; it therefore rejects this part of the claim.
49. As to the non-pecuniary damage, ruling on an equitable basis, the Court finds it appropriate to award the applicant EUR 900.
- Costs and expenses
50. The applicant claimed EUR 1,137 for legal, translation and postal expenses incurred before the Court. He provided copies ofthe service contract with his lawyer dated 28 January 2013 and payment receipts, according to which he had paid his lawyer a total of EUR 1,137 by instalments in the period between 28 January 2013 and 20 January 2014.
51. The Government contested that claim, stating that the applicant had failed to submit any relevant details in support of it, such asthe time his lawyer had spent working on the case or his hourly rate.
52. According to the Court’s case-law, an applicant is entitled to the reimbursement of costs and expenses only in so far as it has been shown that these have been actually and necessarily incurred and are reasonable as to quantum. In the present case, regard being had to the documents in its possession and the above criteria, the Court considers it reasonable to award the applicant the sum of EUR 1,000 to cover costs and expenses in the proceedings before the Court.
- Default interest
53. The Court considers it appropriate that the default interest rate should be based on the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank, to which should be added three percentage points.
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT, UNANIMOUSLY,
- Declares the applicant’s complaints under Article 6 § 1 of the Convection admissible and the remainder of the application inadmissible;
- Holds that there has been a violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention on account of the unjustified reopening of the domestic proceedings;
- Holds that there is no need to examine the applicant’s complaint under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention regarding the allegedly unjustified intervention of the public prosecutor in the domestic proceedings;
(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicant, within three months, the following amounts, to be converted into the national currency at the rate applicable at the date of settlement:
(i) EUR 900 (nine hundred euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable, in respect of non-pecuniary damage;
(ii) EUR 1,000 (one thousand euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicant, in respect of costs and expenses;
(b) that from the expiry of the above-mentioned three months until settlement simple interest shall be payable on the above amountsat a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points;
- Dismisses the remainder of the applicant’s claim for just satisfaction.
Done in English, and notified in writing on 23 July 2019, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Andrea Tamietti Georges Ravarani
Deputy Registrar President
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