CASE OF MATVEYEVA AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA (European Court of Human Rights) 54430/08

The case originated in four applications against Russia 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, including application no. 54430/08 by Ms Nadezhda Pavlovna Matveyeva lodged on 6 October 2008.


THIRD SECTION
CASE OF MATVEYEVA AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA
(Application no. 54430/08)
JUDGMENT
(Revision)
STRASBOURG
28 July 2022

This judgment is final but it may be subject to editorial revision.

In the case of Matveyeva and Others v. Russia (request for revision of the judgment of 6 December 2018),

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

Peeter Roosma, President,
Andreas Zünd,
Mikhail Lobov, judges,
and Viktoriya Maradudina, Acting Deputy Section Registrar,

Having deliberated in private on 10 March 2022,

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

PROCEDURE

1. The case originated in four applications against Russia 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, including application no. 54430/08 by Ms Nadezhda Pavlovna Matveyeva lodged on 6 October 2008.

2. In the judgment delivered on 6 December 2018, the Court held that there had been a violation of Article 6 § 1 and Article 13 of the Convention in respect of all applications, and a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention in respect of three applications including the application by Ms Matveyeva (no. 54430/08) on account of the non‑enforcement or delayed enforcement of the final and binding judgments in the applicants’ favour and the lack of effective remedies, including the judgment of 18 August 2006 of the Frolovskiy District Court of the Volgograd Region given against a municipal unitary enterprise in favour of Ms Matveyeva. The Court held that the respondent State was to enforce, within three months, the domestic judgments which have not been enforced. It also decided to award each applicant, including Ms Matveyeva, 2,000 euros for non-pecuniary damage and dismissed the remainder of the claims for just satisfaction.

3. On 27 May 2019 the Government informed the Court that the applicant Ms Matveyeva had died on 16 June 2015. They had learned of the applicant’s death from a letter of 15 February 2019 by the applicant’s daughter, Ms Svetlana Borisovna Yemelyanova (born in 1977), who had expressed a wish to maintain the case in the late applicant’s stead. The Government accordingly requested revision of the judgment within the meaning of Rule 80 of the Rules of Court.

4. On 29 August 2019 the Court considered the request for revision and decided to give Ms Yemelyanova three weeks in which to submit any observations. Those observations were received on 11 October 2019. The Government submitted their comments in reply on 31 March 2020.

THE LAW

THE REQUEST FOR REVISION

5. The Government requested revision of the judgment of 6 December 2018, which they had been unable to execute because the applicant had died long before the judgment had been adopted. They noted that the applicant’s daughter or any other next of kin had failed to either inform the Court of the applicant’s demise or to provide any plausible explanation for their failure to do so. Accordingly, they asked the Court either to strike the application out of the list or, alternatively, to exclude both the order to pay compensation for non-pecuniary damage to the applicant and the obligation to enforce the domestic judgment in the late applicant’s favour from the relevant parts of the judgment. They noted that the Court had made its award under Article 41 after the applicant’s death, and therefore the respective amount could not have been inherited under the domestic law.

6. Ms Yemelyanova, the late applicant’s daughter, argued in reply that she wished to maintain the case in Ms Matveyeva’s stead, that she was the late applicant’s only legal successor, and that she was entitled to receive the amounts awarded by the domestic courts to her late mother which had not been paid to her in due time. She submitted a succession certificate by a public notary dated 19 January 2019 confirming that she had inherited the applicant’s assets consisting of 817,156.62 Russian roubles awarded to the late applicant by the Frolovskiy District Court of the Volgograd Region on 18 August 2006. She further submitted a decision of the same court of 24 October 2019 by which the district court had replaced the claimant in respect of the original judgment of 18 August 2006 by the applicant’s legal successor Ms Yemelyanova. She stated that she had not informed the Court of the applicant’s death because more than ten years had elapsed between the date of introduction of the applicant’s complaint with the Court and the date of the Court’s judgment, and that such delay could not be attributed to the applicant or her next of kin.

7. The Government maintained their position and further argued in reply that, as in 2019 the daughter had been declared claimant in the initial domestic proceedings, she was entitled to have the domestic judgment enforced in her favour. Finally, they stated that it had not followed from the letter by the applicant’s daughter that she had sought to receive “just satisfaction awarded to Ms Matveyeva by the Court”.

8. Relevant parts of Rule 80 of the Rules of Court provide:

“A party may, in the event of the discovery of a fact which might by its nature have a decisive influence and which, when a judgment was delivered, was unknown to the Court and could not reasonably have been known to that party, request the Court … to revise that judgment. …”

9. The Court considers that the applicant’s death constitutes “the discovery of a fact … which when [the] judgment was delivered, was unknown to the Court”. It also constitutes a fact of “decisive influence” on the outcome of the judgment within the meaning of Rule 80 § 1. The Court accepts that this decisive fact “could not reasonably have been expected to be known” to the Government, which became aware of the applicant’s death on 15 February 2019 (see Manushaqe Puto and Others v. Albania (revision), nos. 604/07 and 3 others, §§ 9-10, 4 November 2014). They filed a request for a revision of the judgment on 27 May 2019, that is, within the time-limit provided for in Rule 80.

10. In these circumstances, the Court considers that the judgment of 6 December 2018 should be revised in the part concerning the complaint by late Ms Matveyeva pursuant to Rule 80 of the Rules of Court.

11. The Court further recalls that it has been its practice to strike applications out of the list of cases in the absence of any heir or close relative who has expressed in a timely manner a wish to pursue the application, without providing an explanation for such failure (see Cacuci and S.C. Virra & Cont Pad S.R.L. v. Romania (revision), no. 27153/07, §§ 6-11, 13 November 2018; Association of Victims of Romanian Judges and Others v. Romania (revision), no. 47732/06, §§ 9-11, 22 March 2016; and Gabay v. Turkey (revision), no. 70829/01, 27 June 2006). The Court sees no reason to depart from this approach in this case, taking into account that the applicant’s death had occurred three years before the date of the Court’s judgment, and noting that the applicant’s daughter had failed to provide any valid reason for not being able to inform the Court earlier about her mother’s death (see, by contrast, Nicolae Augustin Rădulescu v. Romania (revision), no. 17295/10, § 9, 19 May 2015). The Court further finds no special circumstances relating to respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and its Protocols which require it to continue the examination of the present application (see Cacuci and S.C. Virra & Cont Pad S.R.L., cited above).

12. Accordingly, application no. 54430/08 introduced by Ms Nadezhda Pavlovna Matveyeva should be struck out of the Court’s list of cases in accordance with Article 37 § 1 of the Convention.

FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT, UNANIMOUSLY,

1. Decides to revise the judgment of 6 December 2018 in the case of Matveyeva and Others v. Russia in respect of application no. 54430/08;

and, accordingly:

2. Decides to strike application no. 54430/08, lodged by Mr Nadezhda Pavlovna Matveyeva, out of its list of cases.

Done in English, and notified in writing on 28 July 2022, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.

Viktoriya Maradudina                      Peeter Roosma
Acting Deputy Registrar                      President

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