JAROSZ v. RUSSIA (European Court of Human Rights)

Communicated on 28 January 2019

THIRD SECTION

Application no. 71371/17
Wiesław Janusz JAROSZ
against Russia
lodged on 22 September 2017

STATEMENT OF FACTS

The applicant, Mr Wiesław Janusz Jarosz, is a Polish national, who was born in 1955 and lives in Elbląg, Poland. He is represented before the Court by Mr I. Sinyushkin, a lawyer practising in Kaliningrad.

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

On 22 October 2015 the applicant brought his Škoda car from Poland to Russia, placing it under the temporary admission customs regime. Under temporary admission, the car was reserved for the applicant’s personal use, he could not let others use or drive it.

On 4 November 2015 the police stopped the car and discovered that someone else was driving it. The customs impounded the car, keys and registration papers, and charged the applicant with a breach of customs regulations.

By judgment of 27 January 2016, a justice of the peace in the Leningradskiy District in Kaliningrad found the applicant guilty of handing over the right of use to the vehicle in breach of temporary admission, an offence under Article 16.24(2) of the Code of Administrative Offences, and fined him 2,000 Russian roubles (RUB). It also directed the customs to return the car and registration papers to the applicant.

On 18 February 2016 the applicant paid the fine. He unsuccessfully applied to various customs offices for the return of the car with a view to re‑exporting it to Poland. The customs refused to return the car. They also refused to process an updated customs declaration on the ground that the applicant was unable to make the car available for inspection.

The applicant complained to a court, seeking a declaration that the customs had unlawfully retained the car. His complaint was dismissed at four instances, the final decision having been given by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation on 16 June 2017. The courts held that the customs had lawfully retained the car until such time as the applicant had submitted an updated declaration and paid customs duties.

In parallel proceedings, the customs office required the applicant to pay the full customs value of the car (RUB 672,336) plus the interest pro rata temporis. They justified their demand by the fact that temporary admission was extinguished after the applicant had allowed another person to use the car. On 18 May 2017 the Tsentralnyy District Court in Kaliningrad granted the claim by the customs office against the applicant, in the full amount.

COMPLAINT

The applicant complains under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention that the continued retention of his car by the customs office has imposed an individual and excessive burden on him.

QUESTIONS TO THE PARTIES

Was there a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention? In particular, did the continued retention of the applicant’s car after he had already paid a fine for letting another person drive it impose an individual and excessive burden on him?

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