Europejskiego Trybunału Praw Człowieka
z dnia 21 czerwca 2016 r.
Application no. 3585/08
Nina Dmitriyevna KOTOVA and Others against Russia
and 16 other applications
(see list appended)
The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting on 21 June 2016 as a Committee composed of:
Helen Keller, President,
Alena Poláčková, judges,
and Fatoş Aracı, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above applications,
Having regard to the declarations submitted by the respondent Government on different dates (see the Appendix) requesting the Court to strike the applications out of the list of cases and the applicants' replies to those declarations,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
FACTS AND PROCEDURE
The applicants are Russian nationals whose names and dates of birth are set out in the Appendix. The Russian Government ("the Government") were represented by Mr G. Matyuskin, Representative of the Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights.
The facts of the cases, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
The applicants were parties to civil proceedings that took place in courts of ordinary jurisdiction in various regions of Russia. The disputes concerned various civil matters such as labour, housing, property and monetary issues. In all of the cases the domestic courts took lengthy periods of time to examine the applicants' claims, ranging between two and ten years.
On 14 January 2013 Mr Yuriy Ivanovich Chirykin, the applicant in application no. 20005/08, died. His widow, Ms Lidiya Dmitriyevna Chirykina, expressed her wish to pursue the application in the capacity of his heir. For the sake of convenience, the Court will, however, continue to refer to Mr Yuriy Ivanovich Chirykin as "the applicant".
The applicants complained, in particular, about the length of the proceedings in their cases. In certain cases, they also complained of the lack of an effective domestic remedy in respect of unduly long proceedings.
The applications were communicated to the Government.
A. Joinder of the applications
Having regard to the similarity of the main issues under the Convention in the above cases, the Court decides to join the applications and examine them in a single decision.
B. Locus standi as regards application no. 20005/08
The Court takes note of Mr Yuriy Ivanovich Chirykin's death and of the wish of Ms Lidiya Dmitriyevna Chirykina, his widow, to pursue the proceedings in his stead.
The Court reiterates that where an applicant dies during the examination of a case his or her heirs may in principle pursue the application on his or her behalf (see Ječius v. Lithuania, no. 34578/97, § 41, ECHR 2000-IX). Furthermore, in some cases concerning non-enforcement of court judgments and length of proceedings, the Court has recognised the right of the relatives of the deceased applicant to pursue the application (see Shiryayeva v. Russia, no. 21417/04, §§ 8-9, 13 July 2006 concerning non-enforcement, and Horváthová v. Slovakia, no. 74456/01, §§ 25-27, 17 May 2005, in the context of the length of proceedings).
The Court has established that it is for the heir who wishes to pursue the proceedings before the Court to substantiate his or her standing to do so (see Belskiy v. Russia (dec.), no. 23593/03, 26 November 2009).
On 23 January 2014 the Court received a statement confirming that Ms Lidiya Dmitriyevna Chirykina had accepted the succession after her deceased husband. The Government did not contend that Ms Lidiya Dmitriyevna Chirykina had no standing to pursue the case. Therefore, the Court considers that the applicant's widow has a legitimate interest in pursuing the application.
C. Complaints about the length of proceedings
The applicants complained about the excessive length of civil proceedings. They relied on Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.
On various dates (see the Appendix) the Government informed the Court that they proposed to make unilateral declarations with a view to resolving the issues raised by the applications. They acknowledged that the length of the proceedings in the applicants' cases had not complied with the "reasonable time" requirement set down in Article 6 of the Convention. They stated their readiness to pay the sums listed in the Appendix as just satisfaction to the applicants. They further requested that the Court strike out the applications, in accordance with Article 37 of the Convention.
The declarations provided as follows:
"... the Government of the Russian Federation acknowledge that the length of the proceedings in [the applicants' cases] was in breach of the 'reasonable time' requirement.
... The Government of the Russian Federation are ready to pay [the applicant concerned] a sum of [the amount suggested] as just satisfaction.
The Government therefore invite the Court to strike [the applications] out of the list of cases. They suggest that the present declaration might be accepted by the Court as 'any other reason' justifying the striking out of the case of the Court's list of cases, as referred to in Article 37 § 1 (c) of the Convention.
[The sums set out in the Appendix], which [are] to cover any pecuniary and non–pecuniary damage as well as costs and expenses, will be free of any taxes that may be applicable and will be converted into the national currency of the Russian Federation at the rate applicable at the date of payment. [They] will be payable within three months from the date of notification of the decision taken by the Court pursuant to Article 37 § 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights. In the event of failure to pay [these sums] within the said three-month period, the Government undertake to pay simple interest on [them] from expiry of that period until settlement, at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default periods plus three percentage points.
[These payments] will constitute the final resolution of [the cases]."
Some applicants disagreed with the terms of the Government's declarations on various grounds, considering most often that the compensation amounts offered by the Government were insufficient. Some of them insisted on an examination of their applications on the merits. Some applicants failed to reply.
The Court reiterates that under Article 37 of the Convention it may at any stage of the proceedings decide to strike an application out of its list of cases where the circumstances lead to one of the conclusions specified in paragraph 1 (a), (b) or (c) of that Article.
It also reiterates that in certain circumstances, it may strike out an applications under Article 37 § 1 (c) of the Convention on the basis of a unilateral declaration by a respondent Government, even if the applicants wish the examination of the cases to be continued.
Article 37 § 1 (c) of the Convention enables the Court in particular to strike a case out of its list if:
"for any other reason established by the Court, it is no longer justified to continue the examination of the applications."
Article 37 § 1 in fine states:
"However, the Court shall continue the examination of the application if respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and the protocols thereto so requires."
To this end, the Court will carefully examine the declarations in the light of the principles emerging from its case-law.
The Court is satisfied that the excessive length of the proceedings in the applicants' cases has been acknowledged by the Government. The Court also notes that the compensation amounts offered are comparable with Court awards in similar cases, taking account, inter alia, of the specific delays in the proceedings in each particular case. The Court therefore considers that it is no longer justified to continue to examine the applications.
As to whether the respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and the Protocols thereto requires the Court to continue its examination of the applications, it notes that in a number of analogous cases the Court found that it was not required to continue the examination of the applications, in accordance with Article 37 § 1 of the Convention in fine (see Liberman and Others v. Russia (dec.), nos. 8065/08 and 21 others, 27 January 2015; Goloshchapov and Others v. Russia (dec.), nos. 4627/06 and 10 others, 27 January 2015; and Pobudilina and Others v. Russia (dec.), nos. 7142/05 and 29 others, 29 March 2011). The Court does not see any reason to depart from that approach in the present cases.
In view of the above, in so far as the complaints about the length of proceedings are concerned, it is appropriate to strike that part of the applications out of the list in accordance with Article 37 § 1 (c) of the Convention.
D. Complaints about lack of an effective domestic remedy
Some applicants complained under Article 13 of the Convention that they did not have at their disposal an effective domestic remedy in respect of the excessive length of their proceedings.
In the light of all the material in its possession, and in so far as the complaints fall within its competence, the Court finds that these complaints do not disclose any appearance of a violation of the right and freedoms guaranteed by the Convention or its Protocols. It follows that the applications in this part are manifestly ill-founded and must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention.
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT, UNANIMOUSLY,
Decides to join the applications;
Decides that in respect of application no. 20005/08, Ms Lidiya Dmitriyevna Chirykina has standing to continue the proceedings in Mr Yuriy Ivanovich Chirykin's stead;
Takes note of the terms of the respondent Government's declarations;
Decides to strike the applications in respect of the length of proceedings out of its list of cases in accordance with Article 37 § 1 (c) of the Convention;
Declares the applications inadmissible in the part related to complaints under Article 13 of the Convention.
Done in English and notified in writing on 12 July 2016.
Date of birth
Place of residence
Date of declaration and
Nina Dmitriyevna KOTOVA
Anna Leonidovna KOTOVA
Mariya Leonidovna KOTOVA
EUR 1,400 jointly
Nadezhda Ivanovna MELNIKOVA
Anatoliy Stepanovich SIMAKOV
Valentina Dmitriyevna SIMAKOVA
EUR 1,500 jointly
Yuriy Ivanovich CHIRYKIN
10/02/1938 - 14/01/2013
Lidiya Dmitriyevna CHIRYKINA
Anatoliy Aydybayevich AKHMADEYEV
Nurmukhamet Mukhametdinovich GILYAZETDINOV
Irina Aleksandrovna KONASHENKOVA
Boris Igorevich SEVERTSEV
Olga Vasilyevna CHUMAK
Margarita Gennadyevna DERYABINA
Oleg Mikhaylovich FEDISHIN
Valentina Nikolayevna PYLTSYNA
Aleksandr Ivanovich SOKOLOV
Valeriy Ivanovich PLESHEVICH
Nataliya Aleksandrovna BROKANOVA
Kristina Abakarovna AKSAKOVA
Vladimir Alekseyevich SENATOV