Information Note on the Court’s case-law No. 181
Akhverdiyev v. Azerbaijan - 76254/11
Judgment 29.1.2015 [Section I] See:  ECHR 97
Article 1 of Protocol No. 1
Article 1 para. 1 of Protocol No. 1
Deprivation of property
Unlawful forced relocation of applicant and demolition of his house: violation
Facts - In 2004 the neighbourhood where the applicant lived became part of a municipal development project. In 2009 the authorities requested the applicant to vacate his house, which he had acquired from his parents in 2005, and accept an occupancy voucher for a new flat under construction as compensation. The applicant initially refused but was later obliged to vacate the property, which was eventually demolished in 2009. He was unsuccessful in an action in the civil courts.
Law - Article 1 of Protocol No. 1: Even though the applicant had acquired ownership only in 2005, the property had been in his unchallenged possession before that date. He thus had a sufficient proprietary interest from the outset for the property to qualify as his “possessions”.
As to the lawfulness of the measures taken by the authorities, the Court could not accept that the house had been lawfully expropriated. The expropriation order had been issued more than a year before the applicant became the actual owner of the house, so it could not be described as an “expropriation” act. According to the text of the order, it merely served as a basis for the preparation of the design and as a means for the project developer to obtain the relevant documentation. It could thus not be considered as a lawful basis for interfering with the applicant’s property. Moreover, the “expropriation” procedure had been carried out unlawfully, as the statutory provisions relied on were either irrelevant or inapplicable. The domestic courts had refrained from examining the applicability of the relevant provisions or the issue of lawfulness, despite the applicant’s repeated requests for them to do so. Lastly, the offer of compensation was not lawful as it was based on provisions that were inapplicable in the context of the present case. It followed that the interference with the applicant’s property rights had not been carried out in compliance with the “conditions provided for by law”.
Conclusion: violation (unanimously).
Article 41: reserved.
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This summary by the Registry does not bind the Court.
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