KLINTSOVA v. RUSSIA (European Court of Human Rights)

Communicated on 14 January 2019

THIRD SECTION

Application no.75109/16
Oksana Borisovna KLINTSOVA
against Russia
lodged on 23 November 2016

STATEMENT OF FACTS

The applicant, Ms Oksana BorisovnaKlintsova, is a Russian national, who was born in 1970 and lives in Syktykvar.

A.  The circumstances of the case

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

1.  Domestic judgment in the applicant’s favour

In October 2013 the applicant’s flat was declared unsuitable for living. On 22 November 2013 the Syktyvkar Town Court of the Komi Republic ordered the Administration of the Town of Syktyvkar to provide the applicant with housing under a social tenancy agreement for a family of two of no less than 16.4 sq.m. By an additional decision of 13 December 2013 the town court specified that the housing was to be granted on a priority basis. The judgment entered into force on 20 February 2014.

On 6 May 2014 the bailiffs started the enforcement proceedings.

On 3 July 2015 the administration replied to the bailiffs’ warning that the applicant had been put on a list of persons entitled to housing pursuant to the court decisions, and her waiting-list number was 367. The authority argued that there was no housing available at the material time.

The judgment has not been enforced to date.

2.  Claim for non-pecuniary damage under the Civil Code

On 7 December 2015 the applicant brought a civil action against the town administration claiming non-pecuniary damage stemming from the non-enforcement under Article 151 and Chapter 59 of the Civil Code, as well as pecuniary damage – that is, her rent expenses incurred between June 2014 and April 2015– and application of the court penalty under Article 308.3 of the Civil Code. She argued that she had to rent a room in a shared flat as the judgment in her favour remained unenforced and her initial housing was unsuitable for living, and staying there was dangerous for her life and limb. She enclosed copies of rent agreements and receipts.

On 12 January 2016 the Syktyvkar Town Court granted her claim in part. The court acknowledged that the applicant had undeniably sustained non‑pecuniary damage and awarded her 12,000 Russian roubles (RUB) (approximately 155 euros (EUR)[1]) as compensation for non-pecuniary damage caused by non-enforcement, to be paid at the expense of the Ministry of Finance.

As regards her claim for rent expenses, the court observed that the applicant failed to submit evidence to the effect that her rent expenses were mandatory (вынужденными), caused specifically by wrongful inaction of the town administration “depriving the applicant from the only housing option”. For the court, the mere fact of non-enforcement of a domestic judgment during the validity period of her rent contract was not sufficient to establish the respondent’s fault in causing damage to the applicant.

As regards the applicant’s request to apply the court penalty, the court observed that Article 308.3 of the Civil Code, in force as of 1 June 2016, could not be applied as the court was unable to establish “facts of bad-faith wrongdoing of the debtor” (недобросовестноговиновногоповедениядолжника) having caused the non-enforcement, either before or after 1 June 2016.

On 21 March 2016 the Supreme Court of the Komi Republic upheld the judgment in the appeal instance.

On 24 May 2016 a judge of the Supreme Court of the Komi Republic refused to refer the case for consideration by the Presidium of that court.

On 31 August 2016 a judge of the Supreme Court of Russia refused to refer the case for consideration by the Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court. The judge found that the applicant’s cassation appeal was based on an incorrect interpretation of the legislation and did not disclose significant violations by the lower courts of substantive or procedural law.

3.  Compensation Act proceedings

In April 2017 the applicant lodged an application under the amended Compensation Act.

On 12 May 2007 the Supreme Court of the Komi Republic granted her action in part. The court observed that by the time of the introduction of the application the non-enforcement had lasted for three years and seventeen days. However, the court deduced the period until 12 January 2016 from the overall length, as the applicant had been already awarded compensation of non-pecuniary damage for that period. The court awarded the applicant RUB 100,000 (approximately EUR 1,606[2]) in compensation of non‑pecuniary damage.

On 13 July 2017 the Appellate Chamber of the Supreme Court of the Komi Republic upheld the judgment on appeal.

On 6 October 2017 a judge of the Supreme Court of the Komi Republic refused to refer the case for consideration by the Presidium of that court.

On 12 January 2018 a judge of the Supreme Court of Russia refused to refer the case for consideration by the Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court.

B.  Relevant domestic law and practice

Relevant provisions of the Federal Law No. 450-FZ amending the Compensation Act of 2010, in force as of 1 January 2017, as well as provisions concerning application of the court penalty and other relevant domestic norms, are summarised in Shtolts and Others v. Russia (dec.), nos. 77056/14 and 2 others, §§ 30‑75, 30 January 2018.

COMPLAINTS

The applicant complains under Article 6 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 about the non-enforcement of the judgment in her favour and under Article 13 about the lack of an effective domestic remedy in respect of the continuing non-enforcement.

QUESTIONS TO THE PARTIES

1.  Has the judgment of 22 November 2013 in the applicant’s favour, as supplemented by the additional decision of 13 December 2013, been enforced fully and in good time? If it has not, has there been a violation of Article 6 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 on account of the non-enforcement?

2.  Has the applicant have an effective remedy in respect of her non‑enforcement complaint? In particular:

(a)  Did she have an effective acceleratory remedy in respect of her complaint? In particular, was the request to apply a court penalty an effective remedy in her case?

(b)  Did she have an effective compensatory remedy in respect of her complaint? In particular, did her court action under the Compensation Act as amended by the Federal Law No. 450-FZ of 19 December 2016 constitute an effective remedy in respect of the alleged violation?

(c)  With reference to the proceedings concerning the applicant’s claim for reimbursement of the rent expenses, was the applicant able to obtain appropriate redress of the alleged violation of her rights as a result of the non-enforcement, in those proceedings solely or taken in conjunction with the Compensation Act proceedings (see, mutatis mutandis, Gera de Petri TestaferrataBoniciGhaxaq v. Malta, no. 26771/07, § 53, 5 April 2011, and Apap Bologna v. Malta, no. 46931/12, § 43, 30 August 2016, with further references; see further, in so far as relevant, Ilyushkin and Others v. Russia, nos. 5734/08 and 28 others, § 65, 17 April 2012)?

_________________
[1].  As converted into euros on the date of the judgment
[2].  As converted into euros on the date of the judgment

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