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Andrey Medvedev v. Russia - (13 Sep 2016)

Where an issue in general interest is at stake, it is incumbent on public authorities to act in good time, in an appropriate manner and with utmost consistency

Property

Instant case originated in an application against Russian Federation lodged with Court under Article 34 of Convention for Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by a Russian national, (“Applicant”). Applicant alleged, in particular, that he had been deprived of his flat in contravention of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 and that his eviction had amounted to a violation of Article 8 of the Convention. Gist of the applicant’s complaint is that, Russian legislation had allowed an omission on part of authorities duly and promptly to register their title to the flat. That had resulted in a situation in which someone convicted of fraudulent acquisition of flat had continued for years to be officially recognised as its legitimate owner and had thus been able to defraud others through sale of flat.

The Court noted that, Government have failed to give a convincing explanation as to why, contrary to the public interest of catering for the needs of those on the waiting list for social housing, the city authorities chose not to have their title to the flat duly registered and/or to assign the flat to a person in need of social housing back in 2005, when Un.’s fraudulent actions had been discovered and the domestic judicial authorities had recognised the city’s title to the flat. Where an issue in general interest is at stake, it is incumbent on public authorities to act in good time, in an appropriate manner and with utmost consistency. Applicant has been deprived of ownership without compensation or provision of replacement housing from the State.

The Court concludes that, conditions under which the applicant was deprived of his title to the flat imposed an individual and excessive burden on him and that the authorities have failed to strike a fair balance between the demands of the public interest on the one hand and the applicant’s right to peaceful enjoyment of his possessions on the other. There has accordingly been a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to Convention. Flat in question was applicant’s “home” within meaning of Article 8 of Convention and that his eviction from that flat amounted to an interference with his rights to respect for his home.

The Court observes that an order was made for the applicant’s eviction automatically by the domestic courts after they had stripped him of ownership. They made no further analysis as to the proportionality of the measure to be applied against the applicant, namely his eviction from the flat they declared to be municipally-owned. However, the guarantees of the Convention require that any interference with an applicant’s right to respect for his or her home not only be based on the law but should also be proportionate, under paragraph 2 of Article 8 of the Convention, to the legitimate aim pursued, regard being had to the particular circumstances of the case. Furthermore, no legal provision of domestic law should be interpreted and applied in a manner incompatible with the respondent State’s obligations under the Convention.

Applicant was not provided with permanent, or even temporary, accommodation when he had to move out. The authorities made no effort to contribute to a solution of his housing need. It follows that the applicant’s rights guaranteed by Article 8 of the Convention were entirely left out of the equation when it came to balancing his individual rights against the interests of the City of Moscow. There has therefore been a violation of Article 8 of the Convention in the instant case.

Applicant has suffered distress and frustration on account of the loss of his property. Making its assessment on an equitable basis, the Court awarded Applicant 9,000 euros (EUR) in respect of non-pecuniary damage, plus any tax that may be chargeable on that amount.

Tags : EVICTION   RIGHTS   VIOLATION  

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