Everyone has the right to peacefully own property and cannot be deprived of it except in the interests of society.
Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms guarantees protection against State interference in the property rights of its citizens.
And the European Court has always concluded that such violations are not always obvious, but each time they are found, they must be properly compensated.
Here are some examples of high-profile cases against Ukraine from the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, which show that it is possible to achieve protection of one's rights!
1. "Suk v. Ukraine", 2011.
In the present case, the Court protected the applicant's right to a monthly allowance under the legislation in force at the time. The state did not pay the above-mentioned material assistance, citing the fact that the legislation on the state budget did not provide for the corresponding expenditures during the period 1999-2000.
However, the Court indicated that the Government could indeed impose, suspend or
to stop social payments by making appropriate legislative changes. However, "if the legislative provision providing for certain surcharges remains in force and the prescribed conditions are met, public authorities may not refuse to grant them as long as the relevant legislative provision remains in force."
Moreover, the refusal to pay, citing a lack of funds, is arbitrary and illegal inaction.
2. "Makara and others v. Ukraine", 2013.
This is one of the key examples where a legitimate expectation may arise from a court decision that has entered into force. Thus, in the present case, the domestic courts and labor dispute commissions had ruled that the applicants were entitled to various amounts of compensation and benefits in their favor. It was a large-scale case dealing with 250 standard applications, mainly concerning non-payment of pensions.
Judgments were not enforced, and prolonged delays interfered with their right to own property. The Court found that virtually all the applicants had in fact legitimate expectations as to the payment of their guarantees on the basis of the judgments and, consequently, the State of Ukraine had violated the applicants' rights under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1.
3. "Budchenko v. Ukraine", 2014.
In this case, the ECtHR protected the miner's right to benefits from utility bills. Under Ukrainian law, the applicant, as a former miner, was entitled to compensation from the State for the utilities he paid for and had to be exempted. For a long time, the state denied him, noting that the employer did not have such a compensation mechanism. The Court notes that the State's prolonged inaction placed an excessive and inappropriate burden on the applicant, thus violating its obligations under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention.
4. "Sukhanov and Ilchenko v. Ukraine", 2014.
The Court was faced with the issue of non-payment of pension supplements as a violation of property rights.
The ECtHR found that "in certain circumstances, a legitimate expectation" to obtain an "asset" may be protected by Article 1 of Protocol No. 1. Thus, if the substance of a person's claim relates to a property right, the person to whom it is granted may be considered to have "legitimate expectations" if there is sufficient basis for such a right in national law, such as established court practice, legal provisions, or an act of individual action.
5. "Fedorenko v. Ukraine", 2006.
In the present case, the applicant was deprived of his profits under a contract which provided for protection against inflation.
In its decision, the ECtHR emphasized that property rights could be "existing property" or "justified expectations" of being able to use property rights effectively. On the other hand, the hope of recognizing the existence of an old property right, which has long been impossible to use effectively, cannot be considered "property" within the meaning of Art. 1 of the First Protocol.
The court concluded that in the present case there had been a disproportionate interference with the peaceful possession of his property, as the applicant had legitimate expectations
profit in accordance with the provisions of the agreement on the dollar equivalent.
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