(Application no. 37354/03)
22 July 2008
This judgment will become final in the circumstances set out in Article 44 § 2 of the Convention. It may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of Limasovy v. Russia,
The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Ineta Ziemele, judges,
and Santiago Quesada, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 1 July 2008,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW
Article 376. Right to apply to a court exercising supervisory review
“1. Judicial decisions that have become legally binding, with the exception of judicial decisions by the Presidium of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, may be appealed against... to a court exercising supervisory review, by parties to the case and by other persons whose rights or legal interests have been adversely affected by these judicial decisions.
2. Judicial decisions may be appealed against to a court exercising supervisory review within one year after they became legally binding...”
Article 387. Grounds for quashing or altering
by way of supervisory review
“Judicial decisions of lower courts may be quashed or altered by way of supervisory review on the grounds of substantial violations of substantive or procedural legal provisions.”
Article 390. Competence of the supervisory-review court
“1. Having examined the case by way of supervisory review, the court may...
(2) quash the judicial decision issued by a court of first, second or supervisory-review instance in whole or in part and remit the matter for a fresh examination...
(5) quash or alter the judicial decision issued by a court of first, second or supervisory-review instance and issue a new judicial decision, without remitting the matter for a fresh examination, if the substantive law has been erroneously applied or interpreted.”
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION AND OF ARTICLE 1 OF PROTOCOL No. 1
Article 6 § 1
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ..., everyone is entitled to a fair ... hearing ... by [a] ... tribunal...”
Article 1 of Protocol No. 1
“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.”
20. The Court considers that in the case at hand the State has breached the applicants' “right to a court” and prevented them from peacefully enjoying their possessions.
First, the State avoided paying the judgment debts for one year and ﬁve months, and for over eleven months, respectively. These periods cannot be considered reasonable.
Then the State quashed the judgments on supervisory review due to a misinterpretation of material laws. It is unavoidable that in civil proceedings the parties would have conflicting views on application of material laws. The courts are called upon to examine their arguments in a fair and adversarial manner and make their assessment of the claim. Before the applications for supervisory review were lodged, the merits of the applicants' claims had been examined by the courts below. Nothing suggests that the courts had acted outside their competences or that there had been a fundamental defect in the proceedings before them. The fact that the Presidium disagreed with the assessment made by the courts below was not, in itself, a judicial error or miscarriage of justice warranting the quashing of binding and enforceable judgments and reopening of the proceedings (see Kot v. Russia, no. 20887/03, § 29, 18 January 2007).
21. There has, accordingly, been a violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention and of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1.
II. OTHER ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF THE CONVENTION
It follows that this part of the application is manifestly ill-founded and must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention.
III. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION
“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.”
28. In respect of non-pecuniary damage, the applicants jointly claimed EUR 10,000.
29. The Government argued that this claim was excessive.
30. The Court considers that the applicants suffered distress and frustration because of the non-enforcement and supervisory review of the judgments. Making its assessment on an equitable basis, it awards the first applicant EUR 3,100 and the second applicant EUR 1,900.
B. Costs and expenses
C. Default interest
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY
(a) that the respondent State is to pay to each applicant, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes ﬁnal according to Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, the following amounts, to be converted into Russian roubles at the rate applicable at the date of settlement:
(i) EUR 3,200 (three thousand two hundred euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable, in respect of pecuniary damage;
(ii) EUR 50 (ﬁfty euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable to each applicant, in respect of costs and expenses;
(b) that the respondent State is to pay the first applicant, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, EUR 3,100 (three thousand one hundred euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable, in respect of non-pecuniary damage, to be converted into Russian roubles at the rate applicable at the date of settlement;
(c) that the respondent State is to pay the second applicant, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, EUR 1,900 (one thousand nine hundred euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable, in respect of non-pecuniary damage, to be converted into Russian roubles at the rate applicable at the date of settlement;
(d) that from the expiry of the above-mentioned three months until settlement simple interest shall be payable on the above amounts at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points;
Done in English, and notiﬁed in writing on 22 July 2008, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Santiago Quesada Josep Casadevall