(Application no. 19348/04)
13 January 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 Sorvisto v. Finland,
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
David Thór Björgvinsson,
Nebojša Vučinić, judges,
and Lawrence Early, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 9 December 2008,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
1. The first set of criminal proceedings
2. The civil proceedings
3. The second set of criminal proceedings
II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW AND PRACTICE
1. Excessive length and effective remedy
“In addition to what is provided above in section 6, grounds for mitigating the sentence that are also to be taken into consideration are
(3) a considerably long period that has passed since the commission of the offence;
if the punishment that accords with established practice would for these reasons lead to an unreasonable or exceptionally detrimental result.”
2. Seizure of privileged materials
III. OTHER RELEVANT MATERIALS
Council of Europe Recommendation
54. Recommendation Rec(2000)21 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on the freedom of exercise of the profession of lawyer provides, inter alia, as follows:
“Principle I - General principles on the freedom of exercise of the profession of lawyer
... 6. All necessary measures should be taken to ensure the respect of the confidentiality of the lawyer-client relationship. Exceptions to this principle should be allowed only if compatible with the rule of law. ”
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLES 6 § 1 AND 13 OF THE CONVENTION
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a ... hearing within a reasonable time by [a] ... tribunal ...”
“Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in [the] Convention are violated shall have an effective remedy before a national authority notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity.”
1. The first set of criminal proceedings
2. The civil proceedings and the second set of criminal proceedings
1. The civil proceedings
2. The second set of criminal proceeding
II. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 8 OF THE CONVENTION
“1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”
1. The parties' submissions
(a) The applicant
(b) The Government
2. The Court's assessment
(a) Whether there was an interference
104. For the purposes of Article 8 it is necessary to establish whether there was an interference with the applicant's rights under that Article. As the parties agree that there was such interference in respect of the applicant's right to respect for his correspondence with his lawyer, the Court sees no reason to differ on that point. Consequently, the Court finds it unnecessary to determine whether there has also been an interference with the applicant's right to respect for his home or private life as guaranteed by Article 8 § 1.
(b) Was the interference justified?
(i) Was the interference “in accordance with the law”?
(α) Was there a legal basis in Finnish law?
(β) “Quality of the law”
(ii) Legitimate aim and necessity of the interference
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.”
B. Costs and expenses
C. Default interest
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY
4. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 8 of the Convention in regard to the search and seizure measures;
(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, the following amounts:
(i) EUR 12,500 (twelve thousand five hundred euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable, in respect of non-pecuniary damage;
(ii) EUR 9,000 (nine 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 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 13 January 2009, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Lawrence Early Nicolas Bratza