ECHR judgment of November 7, 2017 in the case of Sukhanov and Others v. Russia (complaint No. 56251/12 and two others).
In 2012, the applicants were assisted in the preparation of complaints. Subsequently, the complaints were merged and communicated to the Russian Federation.
The case successfully examined the complaints of the applicants for non-examination by the courts on the merits of their applications, on violation of the right to access to court. There has been a violation of Article 6 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
The courts of the Russian Federation left without consideration on the merits the claims of the three applicants on the ground that the applicants had withdrawn them. The Government claimed that the applicants had not appeared in court or had been asked to consider the case in their absence. In the Government's opinion, this amounted to a factual withdrawal of claims, and therefore they were left without consideration in accordance with the eighth paragraph of Article 222 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Russian Federation.
The applicants alleged that their appeals to the courts had not been examined on the merits in violation of their right to access to the court.
ISSUES OF LAW
Concerning compliance with article 6, paragraph 1, of the Convention. The appearance in court is the right, and not the duty of plaintiffs in civil proceedings. The court has the right to regard the plaintiff's repeated non-appearance as an actual withdrawal of the claim and, accordingly, to terminate the proceedings. This is possible if two conditions are met: the person is properly notified of the date of the hearing and there is no requirement on his part to review the case in his absence.
Two applicants whose complaints were found admissible (Sukhanov and Mazunin) were asked to consider cases in their absence. Thus, it was obvious that they did not withdraw their claims, directly or by default. Consequently, the application by the courts of the eighth paragraph of Article 222 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Russian Federation is clearly arbitrary, since it did not reveal the connection between the established facts, applicable legislation and the outcome of the proceedings.
In view of the foregoing, it is not necessary for the Court to determine whether the termination of the proceedings, which the legislator envisaged in the eighth paragraph of Article 222 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Russian Federation, pursued the legitimate aim, since its application, which was clearly arbitrary, position. For the same reason, the Court considered that there was no need to examine the issue of the proportionality of the impugned measure, paying particular attention to whether the above-mentioned applicants, as the respondent Government had claimed, could re-present their demands for the exercise of the right to a court.
The judgments against the two applicants were arbitrary and thus amounted to a "denial of justice".
The violation of the requirements of Article 6 of the Convention (unanimously) was committed.
In the application of Article 41 of the Convention. The European Court awarded the applicant Mazunin 2,000 euros in compensation for non-pecuniary damage, Sukhanov did not submit any claims.