- Judgment date: 2021-02-16
- Communication date: 2014-09-29
- Application number(s): 49937/08
- Country: MDA
- Relevant ECHR article(s): 6, 6-1, 8, 8-1, P1-1
Violation of Article 6 - Right to a fair trial (Article 6 - Civil proceedings
Article 6-1 - Fair hearing)
- Result: Violation SEE FINAL JUDGMENT
- Probability: 0.555428
- Prediction: No violation
Communication text used for prediction
The applicants, Mr Leustin Caraman and Ms Valentina Caraman, are Moldovan nationals, who live in Chișinău.
The circumstances of the case The facts of the case, as submitted by the applicants, may be summarised as follows.
In 1990 the applicants obtained from the Chișinău municipality an occupancy voucher (ordin de repartiție), a document that entitled the applicants and their son to occupy and use a flat on the basis of a social tenancy agreement with the State.
On 15 October 1998 the municipality provided the applicants with another flat and annulled the previous occupancy voucher.
In 2000 the municipality learned that the second flat had belonged since May 1998 to a bank, V., and that it had unlawfully issued the second occupancy voucher.
It adopted a decision acknowledging these facts and authorized its representative to initiate court proceedings seeking the annulment of the incorrect occupancy voucher and the eviction of the applicants.
The applicants appealed this administrative decision and on 16 July 2003 their claims were finally rejected as ill-founded.
In 2001 an individual, S., acquired ownership to the first flat.
On 23 January 2002 the municipality initiated civil proceedings against the applicants and S., seeking the annulment of the second occupancy voucher, the eviction of the applicants from the second flat, the annulment of S.’s ownership to and his eviction from the first flat for the purpose of offering the flat to the applicants under the first occupancy voucher.
In the course of proceedings the municipality argued that the applicants were entitled to social housing and that their eviction was possible only with their moving into the first flat.
The bank joined the municipality’s action.
S. submitted a counterclaim seeking the annulment of the first occupancy voucher, claiming that he had acquired ownership to the first flat in good faith.
On 17 July 2006 the Rîșcani District Court partially upheld the municipality’s claims, annulled the second occupancy voucher and evicted the applicants from the second flat but refused to evict S. and to annul S.’s ownership concluding that he had acquired it in good faith.
The court upheld S.’s claims in full and annulled the first occupancy voucher.
The applicants appealed and argued, inter alia, that the municipality’s claims were time-barred under Article 51 of the Housing Code, that under Article 104 (2) of the Housing Code they could be evicted only if offered alternative housing.
They cited the Explanatory Decision of the Plenary of the Supreme Court of Justice no.
36 from 20 December 1999 in support of their arguments.
On 21 June 2007 the Chișinău Court of Appeal dismissed their appeal as ill-founded.
The court did not provide any reasons about rejecting the applicants’ contention that the action was time-barred.
The court argued that the applicants could not rely on Article 104 (2) of the Housing Code because at the time the first flat was occupied by S. and the municipality did not have another flat to offer; the applicants were entitled to social housing and were not precluded from initiating separate proceedings against the municipality to obtain such housing.
The applicants appealed the judgment and relied on the same arguments as before.
On 27 February 2008 the Supreme Court of Justice dismissed their appeal in cassation as ill-founded.
The court did not reply to the applicants’ contentions.
Relevant domestic law and practice The relevant provisions of the Housing Code, adopted under Law no.
2718 from 3 June 1983 read as follows: “Section 10.
Rights of citizens to possess a flat A Moldovan citizen shall be entitled to possess a flat owned by the State, municipal authorities or other public bodies, under the terms of a tenancy agreement (...).
[Such flats] shall be granted for permanent use.
The occupancy voucher for a flat An occupancy voucher, issued by a decision of the State, municipal authorities or other public bodies, shall be the only ground to occupy a flat.
Grounds and procedure for the annulment of an occupancy voucher (2) An occupancy voucher may be declared null and void within three years from its delivery.
An action for this purpose may be lodged after the expiry of the three-year time-limit if the occupancy voucher was issued due to the illegal actions of its beneficiaries.
Consequences of declaring an occupancy voucher null (1) If an occupancy voucher is declared null due to the illegal actions of its beneficiaries, they shall be evicted without being provided with an alternative flat (...).
(2) If the occupancy voucher is declared null on other grounds, the persons included in the occupancy voucher shall be evicted and provided the flat they occupied before or an alternative flat.” The relevant provisions of the Explanatory Decision of the Plenary of the Supreme Court of Justice no.
36 from 20 December 1999 read as follows: “3.
Receiving the municipality’s (...) action for the annulment of an occupancy voucher and for eviction with provision of alternative housing (...), the judge shall be obliged to verify if the action refers to a flat which is free and is provided to the evictee.
If no such information is provided, the judge (...) shall not continue the examination of the case and shall propose to the plaintiff to correct the deficiencies in a certain time-limit.
If the judge’s instructions are not complied with, the action shall be considered as not lodged and shall be returned to the plaintiff [without examination].” COMPLAINTS The applicants complain under Article 6 of the Convention that the domestic courts failed to deal in their judgments with and their submission alleging that the municipality’s action was time-barred, that the annulment of their occupancy voucher and their eviction without being provided alternative housing were contrary to domestic law.