ZERVA v. ALBANIA (European Court of Human Rights)

Last Updated on September 22, 2021 by LawEuro

Communicated on 5 March 2019


Application no.37570/18
BraniellaZERVA and Stylianos ZERVAS
against Albania
lodged on 2 August 2018


The application concerns the applicants’ right to a fair hearing and their property rights. The applicants, Ms BraniellaZerva and Mr Stylianos Zerva are Albanian and Greek nationals respectively and live in Greece.

In 2006 the applicants bought two plots of land in Korça, Albania with the intention to build hotel facilities. In 2009, two of the former owners “(third party)” of the plot of land initiated court proceedings against the applicants claiming that the latter had not paid the full price of the land. On 10 September 2009 the Korça District Court decided to accept the third party’s claim and ordered the applicants to pay the amount due. The trial was held without the presence of the applicants. On 20 October 2010 the Korça District Court’s decision became final. On 22 February 2010 the Korça District Court issued a writ of execution of the final decision.

In 2011 the plots of land were auctioned. Given that the whereabouts of the applicants were not known to the authorities, they were assigned a representative in compliance with Article 522 of the Civil Procedure Code.

On an unspecified date, the applicants requested that the bailiff’s legal actions for the auctioning of the plots of lands be declared null and void. On 9 June 2014 the Korça District Court rejected the complaints as manifestly ill-founded and out of time. On 20 November 2014 the Korça Court of Appeal upheld the Korça District Court’s decision. On 21 April 2017 the Supreme Court rejected the applicants’ appeal.

The applicants complain that the authorities failed duly to notify them of the bailiff’s actions as well as of the Supreme Court’s decision, thus breaching their right to a fair trial under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention. Further, they complain about a breach of their property rights under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention.


1.  Have the applicants exhausted all effective domestic remedies, as required by Article 35 § 1 of the Convention?

In particular, would a constitutional appeal against the Supreme Court’s decision of 21 April 2017 have been an effective remedy within the meaning of this provision?

2.  Did the applicants have a fair hearing in the determination of their civil rights and obligations, in accordance with Article 6 § 1 of the Convention?

3.  Have the applicants been deprived of their possessions in accordance with the conditions provided for by law, within the meaning of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1? Were they afforded sufficient procedural protection in the ambit of the enforcement proceedings (see Rousk v. Sweden, no. 27183/04, § 117, 25 July 2013)?

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