Case of European Court of Human Rights, February 07, 2019 (case MINAK AND OTHERS v. UKRAINE)
|Resolution Date:||February 07, 2019|
Violation of Article 6 - Right to a fair trial (Article 6 - Civil proceedings;Article 6-1 - Fair hearing);Violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 - Protection of property (Article 1 para. 1 of Protocol No. 1 - Peaceful enjoyment of possessions)
CASE OF MINAK AND OTHERS v. UKRAINE
(Applications nos. 19086/12 and 13 others -
see appended list)
7 February 2019
This judgment is final but it may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of Minak and Others v. Ukraine,
The European Court of Human Rights (Fifth Section), sitting as a Committee composed of:
Síofra O’Leary, President,Mārtiņš Mits,Lado Chanturia, judges,and Liv Tigerstedt, Acting Deputy Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 17 January 2019,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
The case originated in applications against Ukraine lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) on the various dates indicated in the appended table.
Notice of the applications was given to the Ukrainian Government (“the Government”).
The list of applicants and the relevant details of the applications are set out in the appended table.
The applicants complained that they were deprived of an opportunity to comment on the appeals lodged by the defendants in their cases. Some applicants also raised other complaints under the provisions of the Convention.
JOINDER OF THE APPLICATIONS
Having regard to the similar subject matter of the applications, the Court finds it appropriate to examine them jointly in a single judgment.
ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION
The applicants complained that the principle of equality of arms had been breached on account of the domestic courts’ failure to serve appeals on them or otherwise inform them of the appeals lodged in their cases. They relied on Article 6 § 1 of the Convention, which reads as follows:
Article 6 § 1
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ... everyone is entitled to a ... hearing within a reasonable time by [a] ... tribunal ...”
The Court reiterates that the general concept of a fair trial, encompassing the fundamental principle that proceedings should be adversarial (see Ruiz-Mateos v. Spain, 23 June 1993, § 63, Series A no. 262), requires that the person against whom proceedings have been initiated should be informed of this fact (see Dilipak and Karakaya v. Turkey, nos. 7942/05 and 24838/05, § 77, 4 March 2014). The principle of equality of arms requires that each party should be afforded a reasonable opportunity to present his or her case under conditions that do not place him or her at a substantial disadvantage vis-à-vis his or her opponent (see Avotiņš v. Latvia [GC], no. 17502/07, § 119, ECHR 2016, and Dombo Beheer B.V. v. the Netherlands, 27 October 1993, § 33, Series A no. 274). Each party must be given the opportunity to have knowledge of and comment on the observations filed or evidence adduced by the other party, including the other party’s appeal. What is at stake is the litigants’ confidence in the workings of justice, which is based on, inter alia, the knowledge that they have had the opportunity to express their views on every document in the file (see Beer v. Austria, no. 30428/96, §§ 17‑18, 6 February 2001).
It may, therefore, be incumbent on the domestic courts to ascertain that their summonses or other documents have reached the parties sufficiently in advance and, where appropriate, record their findings in the text of the judgment (see Gankin and Others v. Russia, nos. 2430/06 et al, § 36, 31 May 2016). If court documents are not duly served on a litigant, then he or she might be prevented from defending...
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