Постановление ЕСПЧ от 10.04.2018 <Дело Владимирова (Vladimirova) против России> (жалоба N 21863/05) [англ.]

EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
THIRD SECTION
CASE OF VLADIMIROVA v. RUSSIA
(Application no. 21863/05)

JUDGMENT <*>
(Strasbourg, 10.IV.2018)

FINAL
(10.VII.2018)

——————————–
<*> This judgment has become final under Article 44 § 2 of the Convention. It may be subject to editorial revision.

 

In the case of Vladimirova v. Russia,

The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:

Helena , President,

Helen Keller,

Dmitry Dedov,

Pere Pastor Vilanova,

Alena ,

Georgios A. Serghides,

Jolien Schukking, judges,

and Stephen Phillips, Section Registrar,

Having deliberated in private on 20 March 2018,

Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:

 

PROCEDURE

  1. The case originated in an application (no. 21863/05) against the Russian Federation lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by a Russian national, Ms Alla Yuryevna Vladimirova (“the applicant”), on 26 April 2005.
  2. The Russian Government (“the Government”) were represented by Mr G. Matyushkin, Representative of the Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights, and then by Mr V. Galperin, his successor in that office.
  3. The applicant complained, in particular, that as a result of a public official’s negligent actions, her company lost property belonging to it, and that a court decision awarding damages in this connection had been enforced with significant delay. She relied on Article 6 § 1 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention in connection with those complaints.
  4. On 8 April 2009 the application was communicated to the Government.

 

THE FACTS

  1. The circumstances of the case

 

  1. The applicant was born in 1957 and lives in Stavropol.
  2. The applicant is the founder, sole owner and director of a limited liability company, Akvilon (общество с ограниченной ответственностью “Аквилон”). Prior to the events described below, the company had been engaged in the grocery retail trade.

 

A. Incident of 30 November 2001

  1. On 30 November 2001 Akvilon purchased 5 tonnes of granulated sugar in 100 sacks on condition of delayed payment with a view to reselling it to Mr P. and Mr Pr. The two men made an oral agreement with the company to pay 55,000 Russian roubles (RUB – approximately 2,000 euros (EUR)) in cash immediately upon receipt of the sugar.
  2. On the same date Mr V., the applicant’s husband and a deputy director of Akvilon, transferred the sugar to Mr P. and Mr Pr., who then left under the pretext that they had to fetch more cash in order to be able to pay. Shortly thereafter, Mr V. complained to the Nevinnomyssk Department of the Interior (Управление внутренних дел г. Невинномысска) of the misappropriation by Mr P. and Mr Pr. of the sugar belonging to Akvilon.

 

B. Investigation into the incident of 30 November 2001

  1. On 30 November 2001 criminal proceedings were instituted on suspicion of aggravated fraud in connection with the incident. The case was assigned to an investigator, Mr S., who granted the status of victim of a crime to the Akvilon company.
  2. Later that day, the investigator in charge found the five tonnes of sugar in garages belonging to Mr P. and Mr Pr., in the amounts of 1.5 tonnes and 3.5 tonnes respectively. The two men admitted that they had no documents confirming that they had obtained the sugar legitimately, but insisted that they had paid the necessary amount in cash to a certain Ms Ya., who had promised to deliver the money to Akvilon and had then disappeared. The investigator acknowledged Mr P. and Mr Pr. as witnesses in the case and, without formally attaching the sugar, left it with them for safe storage. Both men gave written undertakings to store the sugar until a court decision was given on the matter.
  3. On 20 December 2001, following a complaint by Akvilon, the Nevinnomyssk prosecutor’s office ordered the investigator, Mr S., to formally attach the sugar, to seize it from Mr P. and Mr Pr. and to deposit it with a neutral person for safe storage.
  4. On 11 January 2002 the investigator ordered the attachment and seizure of the sugar from the garages belonging to Mr P. and Mr Pr., and its transfer to a third party for safe storage. On 15 January 2002 the order was executed and the attached sugar was included in the list of exhibits in the case.
  5. By a decision of 22 February 2002 the investigator, Mr S., declared Mr V., who acted as a representative of the Akvilon company, a civil claimant in the criminal case.
  6. On 6 August 2002, on the instructions of the prosecutor’s office of the Stavropol Region, the investigating authorities transferred the sugar to the Akvilon company for safe storage.
  7. In late 2002 the criminal case was transferred to another investigator.
  8. By two decisions of 24 March 2003 the investigator in charge lifted the attachment order on the sugar and ordered that it be excluded from the list of exhibits in the case. The decisions stated that the investigation had established that, despite their written undertakings to store the sugar, Mr P. and Mr Pr. had sold it to third persons in December 2001. They had then, on 8 January 2002, purchased another lot of sugar in the amount of 1.5 and 3.5 tonnes respectively, which had subsequently been attached and included in the list of exhibits by Mr S. The decisions concluded that the sugar in question was not the object of the crime in the present case, and therefore its attachment should be lifted. It is unclear what happened to the sugar thereafter.
  9. On 31 March 2003 the Nevinnomyssk Department of the Interior decided not to institute criminal proceedings against Mr P. and Mr Pr. in connection with the fact that they had sold the sugar in breach of their written undertakings given to Mr S. The decision stated that the undertakings had not been legally binding, since when they had been given, the sugar had not been formally attached and included in the list of exhibits, and therefore there had been no legal grounds for Mr P. and Mr Pr. to refrain from selling it.
  10. By a decision of 18 April 2003 the investigator in charge ordered the withdrawal of Akvilon’s victim status. The decision stated that it had been established during the investigation that on 30 November 2001 the Akvilon company had dispatched the sugar to the garages belonging to Mr P. and Mr Pr. The two men had then delivered the stipulated amount in cash to a certain Ms Ya., who had negotiated the deal between them and Akvilon and had disappeared once in receipt of the money. The decision concluded that in view of the fact that it was Mr P. and Mr Pr.’s money which had been stolen in the present case, rather than Akvilon’s sugar, it was the former and not the company who were victims of the crime.
  11. On 6 March 2007 a deputy prosecutor of the Stavropolskiy Region ordered that Akvilon again be granted the status of victim of a crime.
  12. On 29 March 2007 the criminal proceedings instituted in connection with misappropriation of Akvilon’s property were suspended owing to the absence of those responsible.

 

C. Civil proceedings brought by Mr P. and Mr Pr

  1. In 2002 Mr P. and Mr Pr. lodged a civil claim against the Akvilon company, seeking to have their title to, respectively, 1.5 and 3.5 tonnes of sugar attached by the investigating authorities acknowledged, the attachment order lifted and the sugar returned to them.
  2. By a decision of 17 April 2003 the Nevinnomyssk Town Court (“the Town Court”) discontinued the proceedings in so far as they had been brought by Mr Pr. on the grounds that he was officially registered as a businessman, and that therefore his dispute with Akvilon fell within the competence of a commercial court. It does not appear that this decision was appealed against or that Mr Pr. attempted to pursue the proceedings any further.
  3. As regards Mr P.’s claim, after several rounds of proceedings, the Town Court granted it in a judgment of 21 May 2004. The court confirmed Mr P.’s title to 1.5 tonnes of sugar, referring to the fact that he had purchased it on 8 January 2002. The court further established that the sugar belonging to Mr P. had been attached by the investigator, Mr S., and transferred to a third party and then to Akvilon for safe storage and that by the investigating authorities’ decision of 24 March 2003 the attachment order had been lifted. The court thus concluded that Akvilon was under an obligation to return 1.5 tonnes of sugar to Mr P., who was its rightful owner. The judgment was not appealed against, and no enforcement proceedings were ever instituted.

 

D. The applicant’s complaints against the investigator

  1. Throughout the investigation into the incident of 30 November 2001 the applicant lodged numerous complaints with the supervising prosecutors alleging negligence on the part of the investigator, Mr S. In particular, she complained of his failure timeously to attach the sugar belonging to Akvilon and his decision to transfer it for safe storage to Mr P. and Mr Pr., individuals whom Akvilon had accused of fraud, with the result that the sugar had been lost and Akvilon had suffered pecuniary damage.
  2. In letters sent to the applicant in the period of 2002-04, the Nevinnomyssk prosecutor’s office and the main investigating division of the Department of the Interior of the Stavropol Region stated, inter alia, that the investigator, Mr S., had indeed breached certain requirements of the criminal procedure legislation. They went on to say that he had been subjected to disciplinary sanctions in that connection, but that there were no grounds to bring criminal proceedings against him.
  3. Between April and July 2004 the Nevinnomyssk prosecutor’s office took a number of similar decisions to dispense with criminal proceedings against Mr S. They stated, in essence, that although formally there were elements of an offence punishable under Article 293 of the Russian Criminal Code (professional negligence) in Mr S.’s actions, that Article provided for criminal liability only if the damage caused by such negligence attained a minimum of RUB 100,000, whereas the pecuniary damage alleged by Akvilon had been lower than that amount.

 

E. Proceedings before the commercial courts

  1. In 2003 Akvilon initiated proceedings before the Commercial Court of the Stavropol Region against the Nevinnomyssk Department of the Interior, the Department of the Interior of the Stavropol Region and the Russian Ministry of the Interior. The company complained that the negligent actions on the part of the investigator, Mr S., during the investigation into the incident of 30 November 2001 had resulted in the loss of five tonnes of sugar belonging to the company. His actions had caused pecuniary damage to the company and had been detrimental to its business reputation, given that it had purchased the sugar on condition of delayed payment, which it had then been unable to fulfil. The company indicated that the pecuniary damage it had suffered to that date amounted to RUB 96,312, taking into account the current price of sugar. It also sought compensation for damage to its business reputation.
  2. After several rounds of proceedings, in a judgment of 22 October 2004 the Commercial Court of the Stavropol Region dismissed the company’s claims in their entirety. It noted that it had not been proven that the investigator, Mr S., had been negligent in performing his duties, given that it had been decided to dispense with criminal proceedings against him in that connection, and that therefore there was no causal link between his actions and the pecuniary damage alleged by the claimant company. The court also stated that since Mr S. had not disseminated any defamatory statements concerning Akvilon, there were no grounds to grant its claim for compensation for damage to its business reputation.
  3. On 30 November 2004 the Appellate Instance of the Commercial Court of the Stavropol Region quashed the first-instance judgment in so far as the applicant’s claim for pecuniary damage was concerned, stating that the lower court finding as to the absence of a causal link between the pecuniary damage sustained by Akvilon and Mr S.’s actions had been incorrect. The appellate court noted that the first-instance court had not taken into account that criminal proceedings against Mr S. in connection with the negligent performance of his duties had not been instituted only on the formal ground that the pecuniary damage inflicted on the claimant company by his actions had been below the statutory limit established in Article 293 of the Russian Criminal Code. The appellate court further found it established that “it was on account of the unlawful actions of investigator S., who had transferred five tonnes of sugar belonging to the Akvilon company to other persons, that [the company] had been deprived not only of its property but also of the right to claim compensation for damage in the context of the criminal proceedings, as the investigator in charge had withdrawn the status of victim [from the company]”. The appellate court considered it established that the company had proven the circumstances in which it had sustained pecuniary losses in the amount of RUB 96,312, and awarded the company the full amount claimed in respect of pecuniary damage, as well as RUB 8,619.42 for costs and expenses to be recovered from the Russian Ministry of the Interior at the expense of the Federal Treasury. The appellate court further upheld the judgment of 22 October 2004 in so far as it rejected the company’s claim concerning compensation for damage to its business reputation.
  4. On 10 March 2005 the Federal Commercial Court of the North-Caucasus Circuit, acting as a cassation instance, upheld the appeal decision of 30 November 2004. The court, however, reduced the award to RUB 55,000, noting that that sum represented the pecuniary losses sustained by Akvilon in 2001 (see paragraph 7 above).
  5. On 19 May 2005 the Supreme Commercial Court of Russia refused leave to apply for a supervisory review of the case.

 

F. Enforcement proceedings

  1. On 15 December 2004, following the decision of the Appellate Instance of the Commercial Court of the Stavropol Region of 30 November 2004, Akvilon was issued with a writ of execution and the enforcement proceedings were commenced.
  2. In a decision of 12 July 2005 the Appellate Instance of the Commercial Court of the Stavropol Region noted that on 10 March 2005 the Federal Commercial Court of the North-Caucasus Circuit had reduced the award in respect of non-pecuniary damage from RUB 96,312 to RUB 55,000 and ordered that the recovery of the amount of RUB 41,312 be discontinued.
  3. That decision was sent to the Russian Ministry of Finance, which then returned the writ of execution and the decision remained unenforced.
  4. On 23 October 2006, at the request of Akvilon, the Commercial Court of the Stavropol Region issued it with another writ of execution for the amount of RUB 55,000 awarded in respect of pecuniary damage and RUB 8,916.42 awarded in respect of costs and expenses.
  5. On 25 October 2006 the new writ was sent to the Ministry of Finance for enforcement.
  6. On 4 July 2007 the Russian Ministry of Finance transferred the full amount due to Akvilon’s bank account.

 

II. Relevant domestic law

  1. For the relevant provisions of domestic law regarding the enforcement of final judgments, see Burdov v. Russia (no. 2) (no. 33509/04, §§ 22 and 26-29, ECHR 2009).

 

THE LAW

I. The applicant’s victim status

  1. The Court observes at the outset that the events complained of in the present case affected the Akvilon company, whereas on the application form the applicant indicated herself rather than the company as the applicant. It further considers that although the respondent Government have not raised any objection as to the Court’s competence ratione personae, with respect to the applicant’s status of a “victim” within the meaning of Article 34 of the Convention, this issue requires its consideration, since the Court has to satisfy itself that it has jurisdiction in any case brought before it, and it is therefore obliged to examine the question of its jurisdiction at each stage of the proceedings (see v. Croatia [GC], no. 59532/00, § 67, ECHR 2006-III; Uslu v. Turkey (no. 2), no. 23815/04, § 18, 20 January 2009; Boucke v. Montenegro, no. 26945/06, § 63, 21 February 2012; and Buzadji v. the Republic of Moldova [GC], no. 23755/07, § 70, ECHR 2016 (extracts)).
  2. The Court further reiterates that where the acts or omissions complained of affect a company, the application should be brought by that company. Disregarding a company’s legal personality as regards the question of being a “victim” will be justified only in exceptional circumstances (see Capital Bank AD v. Bulgaria (dec.), no. 49429/99, 9 September 2004; Camberrow MM5 AD v. Bulgaria (dec.), no. 50357/99, 1 April 2004; G.J. v. Luxembourg, no. 21156/93, § 23, 26 October 2000; and Agrotexim and Others v. Greece, judgment of 24 October 1995, Series A no. 330, p. 25, § 66). On the other hand, the sole owner of a company can claim to be a “victim” within the meaning of Article 34 of the Convention in so far as the impugned measures taken in respect of his or her company are concerned, because in the case of a sole owner there is no risk of differences of opinion among shareholders or between shareholders and a board of directors as to the reality of infringement of Convention rights or the most appropriate way of reacting to such infringement (see Ankarcrona v. Sweden (dec.), no. 35178/97, 27 June 2000; Nosov v. Russia (dec.), no. 30877/02, 20 October 2005; and Khamidov v. Russia, no. 72118/01, § 123, 15 November 2007). In the present case, the documents submitted by the applicant reveal that she was the company’s sole founder and owner, with the result that there was no risk of the existence of any competing interests which could create difficulties, as reflected in the Court’s case-law on the subject.
  3. The Court is therefore satisfied that the applicant herself had the status of a “victim” within the meaning of Article 34 of the Convention, in so far as the events affecting her company were concerned, when she lodged the present application within the Court.

 

II. Alleged violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention on account of the authorities’ negligence

  1. The applicant complained that property belonging to her company had been lost as a result of negligent actions on the part of a State agent. She relied on Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention, which reads as follows:

“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.”

 

A. Submission by the parties

  1. The applicant stressed that her company had never received back the sugar that had been misappropriated. Whilst it is true that, at a certain point in time, the sugar had been transferred to Akvilon for safe storage, the conditions of that storage made it clear that the company could not dispose of the sugar in any way. The applicant also insisted that the award by the domestic courts of compensation for pecuniary damage sustained by her company had not remedied the violation alleged. She argued that the amount awarded by the decision of the Federal Commercial Court of the North-Caucasus Circuit dated 10 March 2005 had been insufficient, as it had been based on 2001 prices and had not included the losses incurred by the company from the date of the incident until the date on which the award had been made. The applicant also argued that, as a result of the events in question, her company’s business reputation had been damaged, but her claim for compensation for non-pecuniary damage in that connection had been dismissed by the domestic courts.
  2. The Government argued that the applicant could not claim to be the victim, within the meaning of Article 34 of the Convention, of the alleged violation of her property rights on account of the investigating authorities’ negligence. They pointed out that the domestic commercial courts had examined the applicant’s relevant claim and had explicitly acknowledged, at two higher levels of jurisdiction, that the negligent actions of Mr S., the investigator in charge of the criminal case concerning misappropriation of property belonging to the applicant’s company, had resulted in the loss by the company of that property, and had awarded it compensation for pecuniary damage as well as reimbursement of costs and expenses. As regards the awarded amount, the Government argued that the Federal Commercial Court of the North-Caucasus Circuit was justified in reducing the initial amount awarded to the applicant’s company; the new amount had been calculated on the basis of the price at which the applicant’s company had intended to sell the sugar before it had been lost, and had taken into account the intended profit. The Government also pointed out that the applicant’s company had not alleged before the commercial courts that it had sustained any non-pecuniary damage in connection with the investigator’s negligence and had not lodged a claim to that end; it had only sought compensation for non-pecuniary damage in respect of damage to its business reputation, which claim had been rejected in the absence of any causal link with the established negligence. The Government further stressed that the awarded amounts had been paid to the applicant’s company in full. Lastly, they argued that Akvilon had received back the equivalent of the amount of sugar lost, as on 6 August 2002 it had been transferred to the company for safe storage. Along with the amount awarded later by the commercial courts, that had constituted, in the Government’s view, double compensation.

 

B. The Court’s assessment

  1. The Court reiterates that a decision or measure favourable to the applicant is not in principle sufficient to deprive him of his status as a “victim” for the purposes of Article 34 of the Convention unless the national authorities have acknowledged, either expressly or in substance, and then afforded redress for, the breach of the Convention (see and Others v. Slovenia [GC], no. 26828/06, § 259, ECHR 2012 (extracts)). The redress afforded at national level must be appropriate and sufficient. The Court has generally considered this to be dependent on all the circumstances of the case, having regard, in particular, to the nature of the Convention violation at stake (see, for instance, v. Germany [GC], no. 22978/05, § 116, ECHR 2010).
  2. In the instant case, the Court considers that in their decisions of 30 November 2004 and 10 March 2005, the Appellate Instance of the Commercial Court of the Stavropol Region and the Federal Commercial Court of the North-Caucasus Circuit respectively explicitly acknowledged that there had been an unjustified interference with Akvilon’s property rights “on account of the unlawful actions of investigator S.” (see paragraphs 29-30 above). It remains to be decided whether the applicant’s company was afforded appropriate and sufficient redress in that respect.
  3. The Court observes that the parties disagreed as to whether the equivalent of the lost sugar had been returned to the applicant’s company. The Court, however, does not consider it necessary to examine this question in detail, as it is clear that the company was awarded certain monetary compensation for its lost property. The Court further notes that the original amount awarded to the applicant’s company in respect of pecuniary damage by the Appellate Instance of the Commercial Court of the Stavropol Region on 30 November 2004 was then reduced by the Federal Commercial Court of the North-Caucasus Circuit in its decision of 10 March 2005. The latter court based its calculation on the price at which the applicant’s company had intended to sell the sugar before it had been lost, and took into account the intended profit. This finding does not appear to be arbitrary or unreasonable, and therefore the Court will not question it, given that with regard to pecuniary damage the domestic courts are clearly in a better position to determine its existence and quantum (see Scordino v. Italy (no. 1) [GC], no. 36813/97, § 203, ECHR 2006-V, and Nosov and Others v. Russia, nos. 9117/04 and 10441/04, § 38, 20 February 2014).
  4. As for the non-pecuniary damage, the Court notes the Government’s argument that the applicant’s company had not alleged that it had sustained any non-pecuniary damage on account of the investigator’s negligence, or sought any compensation in this respect. Rather, the company had sought compensation for non-pecuniary damage for the alleged damage to its business reputation. The claim had been rejected in the absence of a causal link between the investigator’s negligent actions and the damage alleged. This finding does not appear arbitrary or unreasonable, so the Court will not question it, either.
  5. In the light of its considerations above, the Court is satisfied that the awarded amount constituted appropriate and sufficient redress for the violation alleged.
  6. Lastly, the Court observes that the award was paid to the applicant in full. Although there was a certain delay in the payment, the Court is satisfied that the situation that gave rise to the alleged violation has been remedied.
  7. The Court finds accordingly that the applicant can no longer claim to be a “victim” within the meaning of Article 34 of the Convention.
  8. It follows that this part of the application is incompatible ratione personae with the Convention provisions and must be declared inadmissible pursuant to Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention.

 

III. Alleged violation of Article 6 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 on account of non-enforcement

  1. The applicant complained that the judgment by which her company had been awarded compensation for pecuniary damage had remained unenforced for approximately two years, and that this delay had been due to the State’s inactivity. She relied on Article 6 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention, which, in their relevant parts, read as follows:

 

Article 6

 

“1. In the determination of his civil rights and obligations…, everyone is entitled to a fair… hearing… by [a]… tribunal…”

 

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.”

  1. The Government conceded that there had been some delay in the enforcement of the payment of the award to the applicant’s company, but argued that it could reasonably be explained by the particularities of the procedure before the commercial courts and, more specifically, by the fact that the initial award made in the decision of 30 November 2004 had been subsequently reduced by the decision of 10 March 2005, with the result that the enforcement of that decision had been stayed. They further contended that, at the request of the applicant’s company of 18 September 2006, a new writ of execution had been issued on 23 October 2006 and that the full amount due had been paid on 4 July 2007, namely in less than a year, which was in compliance with the Court’s standards in the field of enforcement.
  2. The Court notes that this complaint is not manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 (a) of the Convention. It further notes that it is not inadmissible on any other grounds. It must therefore be declared admissible.
  3. The Court reiterates that an unreasonably long delay in the enforcement of a binding judgment may breach the Convention (see Burdov v. Russia, no. 59498/00, ECHR 2002-III). Moreover, a delay of less than one year in payment of a monetary judicial award is in principle compatible with the Convention, while any longer delay is prima facie unreasonable (see Gerasimov and Others v. Russia, nos. 29920/05 and 10 others, § 169, 1 July 2014). The Court observes that what is at stake in the present case is the delayed enforcement of the monetary award made by the Federal Commercial Court of the North-Caucasus Circuit dated 10 March 2005, which remained unenforced until 4 July 2007, that is for more than two years. It thus rejects as irrelevant the Government’s explanation, as summarised in the previous paragraph, regarding the delay in the enforcement of the decision of the Appellate Instance of the Commercial Court of the Stavropol Region dated 30 November 2004.
  4. In so far as the Government argued that the decision of 10 March 2005 had been enforced within a reasonable period after the date on which the applicant’s company had submitted the new writ of execution to the authorities, the Court finds that this argument does not explain the reason for the authorities’ inaction prior to that date. It reiterates that where a judgment is against the State, the State must take the initiative to enforce it (see, for instance, Akashev v. Russia, no. 30616/05, §§ 21-23, 12 June 2008). The complexity of the domestic enforcement procedure cannot relieve the State of its obligation to enforce a binding judicial decision within a reasonable time (see Burdov v. Russia (no. 2), no. 33509/04, § 70, ECHR 2009, and, more recently, Nosov and Others, cited above, § 46). In the absence of any plausible explanation from the Government for the delay in question, the Court is bound to conclude that the State authorities failed in their obligation to enforce in time the binding court decision in favour of the applicant’s company.
  5. There has, accordingly, been a violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention.

 

IV. Other alleged violations of the Convention

  1. Lastly, the applicant complained, under Articles 6 § 1 of the Convention and Article 13, taken in conjunction with Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention, about the outcome of the proceedings before the commercial courts in determination of the Akvilon company’s claim for damages resulting from the negligence of the investigator, Mr S., and the authorities’ failure to prosecute the latter for that negligence in criminal proceedings.
  2. Having regard to the materials in its possession, the Court finds that these complaints are manifestly ill-founded, within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 (a) of the Convention and must be declared inadmissible pursuant to Article 35 §§ 3 and 4.

 

V. Application of Article 41 of the Convention

  1. Article 41 of the Convention provides:

“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.”

 

A. Damage

  1. The applicant claimed 150,000 euros (EUR) in respect of non-pecuniary damage.
  2. The Government contested the claim as excessive and unsubstantiated.
  3. Making its assessment on an equitable basis, the Court awards the applicant EUR 1,500 in respect of non-pecuniary damage, plus any tax that may be chargeable on that amount.

 

B. Costs and expenses

  1. The applicant also claimed 13,802.86 Russian roubles (RUB -approximately EUR 200)) for the costs and expenses incurred at the domestic level and before the Court.
  2. The Government argued that out of the total amount claimed by the applicant, only the costs and expenses for a total amount of RUB 681.50 (approximately EUR 10) concerned those incurred in the proceedings before the Court. They invited the Court to reject the remainder of the applicant’s claim.
  3. According to the Court’s case-law, an applicant is entitled to the reimbursement of costs and expenses only in so far as it has been shown that these have been actually and necessarily incurred and are reasonable as to quantum. In the present case, the documents submitted by the applicant reveal that, in so far as the applicant sought reimbursement of the costs and expenses incurred at the domestic level, the costs related to the proceedings concerning the investigator’s negligence were awarded to the applicant by the relevant decisions of the domestic commercial courts. The Court thus rejects this part of her claim. It further takes into account the Government’s argument and considers it reasonable to award the applicant EUR 10 covering costs for the proceedings before the Court.

 

C. Default interest

  1. The Court considers it appropriate that the default interest rate should be based on the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank, to which should be added three percentage points.

 

FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT, UNANIMOUSLY

  1. Declares the complaint concerning delayed enforcement of the judgment in the applicant’s favour admissible and the remainder of the application inadmissible;
  2. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention on account of the delayed execution of the judgment in favour of the applicant’s company;
  3. Holds

(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, to be converted into the currency of the respondent State at the rate applicable at the date of settlement:

(i) EUR 1,500 (one thousand five hundred euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable, in respect of non-pecuniary damage;

(ii) EUR 10 (ten 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;

  1. Dismisses the remainder of the applicant’s claim for just satisfaction.

 

Done in English, and notified in writing on 10 April 2018, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.

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