The ECHR judgment of 04 April 2017 in the case of Lovric v. Croatia] "( application No. 38458/15).
In 2015, the applicant was assisted in preparing the application. Subsequently, the application was communicated to Croatia.
In the case, the complaint on the impossibility to appeal to the civil courts in an exception from the association of its member was successfully considered. In the case of violation of the requirements of Art. 6 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
The circumstances of the case
The applicant was a member of the hunting association. In 2012, the general meeting decided to expel him from this association. The applicant brought suit, which was declared inadmissible on the grounds that the matter was not within the jurisdiction of the courts. In the proceedings before the Court, the applicant complained that he could not appeal the decision in court.
Concerning compliance with article 6, paragraph 1, of the Convention. (a) Acceptability. Paragraph 1 of Article 6 of the Convention provides for everyone the right to bring to court any claim relating to his civil rights and obligations. This right only extended to disputes over civil rights and obligations that may be deemed to be recognized in accordance with domestic law, regardless of whether such rights are protected by the Convention. The dispute must be real and serious, it can relate not only to the actual existence of the law, but also to its limits and the way it is implemented, and, finally, the outcome of the proceedings should be decisive for this right.
Legislation of Croatia provides for judicial protection of the rights of members of the association, arising from its charter, in which they are composed. The right to be a member of the association was a civil right, accompanying the right to freedom of association with others, and Article 6 § 1 of the Convention was applied to proceedings for expulsion from the association. It was evident that the proceedings complained of by the applicant involved a real and serious dispute over freedom of association, in particular regarding the applicant's right to remain a member of the association, and the outcome of this proceedings was directly decisive for this right and freedom.
The complaint was declared admissible for consideration on the merits (rendered by a majority vote).
(b) Merits. The restriction of the applicant's right of access to the court pursued the legitimate aim of respecting the autonomy of associations. The organizational autonomy of associations constituted an important aspect of their freedom of association, protected by Article 11 of the Convention. In particular, associations could have some disciplinary powers up to and including exclusion, without fear of external interference. However, freedom of association with others and, consequently, organizational autonomy of associations were not absolute. Intervention of the state in the internal affairs of associations could not be completely ruled out. So, the association must adhere to a certain minimum standard when deleting a member. In such cases, the limits of judicial review could be limited to the observance of the organizational autonomy of associations. However, the applicant, who challenged his exclusion from the association, was completely deprived of access to the court.
In the case there was a violation of the requirements of Article 6 of the Convention (adopted by six votes "for" at one - "against").
In the application of Article 41 of the Convention. The claim for compensation for damage was not put forward. The most appropriate form of reparation would be the resumption of the proceedings.