OROS v. ROMANIA (European Court of Human Rights)

FOURTH SECTION
DECISION
Application no. 45011/14
Cristina Simona OROS
against Romania

The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 3 September 2019 as a Committee composed of:

FarisVehabović, President,
Iulia AntoanellaMotoc,
PéterPaczolay, judges,
and Andrea Tamietti, Deputy Section Registrar,

Having regard to the above application lodged on 10 June 2014,

Having deliberated, decides as follows:

THE FACTS

1.  The applicant, Ms Cristina Simona Oros, is a Romanian national who was born in 1970 and lives in Satu-Mare. She was represented before the Court by Mr S. Blaga, a legal adviser residing in Satu-Mare.

2.  The Romanian Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mrs C. Brumar, of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The circumstances of the case

3.  The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.

4.  Following her divorce, the applicant brought proceedings before the Satu-Mare District Court seeking a division of property jointly owned by her and her ex-husband.

5.  By a judgment of 14 February 2013 the first-instance court partly allowed her action. The marital property was divided so that the applicant’s ex-husband was to receive the apartment bought during their marriage and half of the movable assets, consisting of home appliances and furniture. The applicant was to receive the other half of the movable assets and the sum of 51,477 Romanian lei (“RON” – approximately 11,700 euros (EUR)) from her ex-husband for her share in the marital home.

6.  The applicant’s ex-husband, dissatisfied with the way the marital property had been divided, lodged an appeal against the District Court’s judgment with the Satu-Mare County Court. On 1 July 2013 the court dismissed it, upholding the judgment of the first-instance court.

7.  The applicant’s ex-husband lodged an appeal on points of law. He claimed, amongst other things, that the apartment had been acquired by him with money obtained from the sale of an apartment he had owned before his marriage.

8.  On 25 March 2014 the Oradea Court of Appeal allowed the appeal on points of law and partly quashed the district Court’s judgment. It found that the joint marital property consisted of only a quarter of the apartment and reduced the value of the movable assets to RON 9,275 (approximately EUR 2,107). It reduced the amount to be paid to the applicant by her ex‑husband from RON 51,477 to RON 12,102 (approximately EUR 2,750). The appellate court changed the applicant’s share of the marital assets without providing any reasons.

9.  In their written observations to the Court, the Government stated that on 19 June 2014 the Oradea Court of Appeal, of its own motion, had decided in camera to rectify the error it had committed by failing to include reasoning in its decision of 25 March 2014.

10.  The court noted that it had mistakenly omitted the reasons on which it had based its decision of 25 March 2014, despite the reasoning having been drafted within the statutory time-limit, before the decision had been signed by the judges.

COMPLAINT

11.  The applicant complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention of a complete lack of reasoning in the decision delivered by the Oradea Court of Appeal on 25 March 2014 changing the proportion of marital assets attributed to her by the first-instance court.

THE LAW

12.  In their observations to the Court, the Government raised a preliminary objection of inadmissibility, arguing that the applicant had provided the Court with incomplete and misleading information.

13.  They drew the Court’s attention to the fact that the applicant had failed to inform it of the rectification of the decision of 25 March 2014 (see paragraph 9 above) even though she had found out about it on 1 July 2014 when the court’s registry had granted her request to consult the file.

14.  The Government therefore requested that the Court declare the application inadmissible on the grounds of abuse of the right of petition.

15.  The applicant submitted that before lodging her application with the Court she had lodged a complaint with the judicial disciplinary board of the Superior Council of Magistrates against the three-judge panel which had delivered the ruling of 25 March 2014. Accordingly, this meant that the judges had not rectified the decision of their own motion, but because of the investigation opened by the judicial disciplinary board.

16.  The Court reiterates that an application may be rejected as an abuse of the right of petition under Article 35 § 3 of the Convention if, among other reasons, it was knowingly based on untrue facts (see Vasilevskiy v. Latvia (dec.), no. 73485/01, 10 January 2012). Incomplete and therefore misleading information may also amount to an abuse of the right of application, especially if the information concerns the very core of the case and no sufficient explanation is given for the failure to disclose that information (see Predescu v. Romania, no. 21447/03, § 25, 2 December 2008). The same applies if new, important developments have occurred during the proceedings before the Court and where, despite being expressly required to do so by Rule 47 § 7 (formerly Rule 47 § 6) of the Rules of Court, the applicant has failed to disclose that information to the Court, thereby preventing it from ruling on the case in full knowledge of the facts (see Gross v. Switzerland [GC], no. 67810/10, § 28, 30 September 2014).

17.  Turning to the circumstances of the instant case, the Court notes that according to the documents submitted by the Government, on 19 June 2014 the Oradea Court of Appeal, of its own motion, had decided in camera to rectify the error it had committed by failing to include reasoning in its decision of 25 March 2014 (see paragraph 9 above). The Government further alleged that the applicant could not have ignored that fact, as on 1 July 2014 she had been allowed to consult the case-file (see paragraph 13 above). The applicant did not contest that.

18.  However, the applicant failed to mention that fact to the Court after lodging her application and before the respondent Government were given notice of the application on 27 January 2015.

19.  The Court further observes that the applicant did not provide any plausible explanation for her failure to submit that information, which, in its opinion, relates to the very core of the subject matter of the application.

20.  Having regard to the importance of the information at issue for the proper determination of the present case, the Court upholds the Government’s preliminary objection that the applicant’s conduct constituted an abuse of the right of application within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 (a) of the Convention.

21.  The application must therefore be declared inadmissible as a whole as an abuse of the right of application pursuant to Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention.

For these reasons, the Court, unanimously,

Declares the application inadmissible.

Done in English and notified in writing on26 September 2019.

Andrea Tamietti                                                  FarisVehabović
Deputy Registrar                                                      President

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