(Application no. 60805/00)
12 February 2009
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 Miteva v. Bulgaria,
The European Court of Human Rights (Fifth Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Peer Lorenzen, President,
Mirjana Lazarova Trajkovska, judges,
and Claudia Westerdiek, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 20 January 2009,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW AND PRACTICE
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF 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.”
26. Applying the criteria set out in Velikovi and Others (cited above, §§ 183-192), the Court notes that the applicant's title was declared null and void and she was deprived of her property on the ground that in 1968 a relevant document had been signed by the deputy of the official in whom the relevant power had been vested, a required administrative approval was not found in the file and the administration had wrongly determined the price of the flat. The irregularities were clearly imputable to the State administration; moreover, it does not appear that the applicant and her husband had any possibility of interfering with the administrative formalities. As regards the price of the flat, the Court does not consider that a slight difference between the estimates made in 1968 and in 1996 (see paragraph 10 above) could be seen as a substantive unlawfulness (see, by contrast, the case of Wulpe in the Velikovi and Others judgment, cited above, § 204). Moreover, the Court sees no indication that the flat was obtained or the price determined through abuse.
II. 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.”
B. Costs and expenses
C. Default interest
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY
(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicant, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, EUR 48,000 (forty-eight thousand euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable, in respect of pecuniary damage, to be converted into Bulgarian levs at the rate applicable at the date of settlement;
(b) that from the expiry of the above-mentioned three months until settlement simple interest shall be payable on the above amount 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 12 February 2009, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Claudia Westerdiek Peer Lorenzen