III. Alleged violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention

Постановление ЕСПЧ от 12.04.2018 "Дело "Божков и другие (Bozhkov and Others) против Российской Федерации" (жалоба N 17071/05 и 5 других жалоб) [рус., англ.] (Вместе со Списком жалоб)

III. Alleged violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention

7. The applicants complained principally that their right to a fair hearing had been breached on account of the domestic courts' refusal of their requests to appear in court. They relied on Article 6 § 1 of the Convention, which reads as follows:

Article 6 § 1

"In the determination of his civil rights and obligations... everyone is entitled to a... hearing within a reasonable time by [a]... tribunal..."

8. The Court reiterates that the applicants, detainees at the time of the events, were not afforded an opportunity to attend hearings in civil proceedings to which they were parties. The details of those domestic proceedings are indicated in the appended table. The Court observes that the general principles regarding the right to present one's case effectively before the court and to enjoy equality of arms with the opposing side, as guaranteed by Article 6 of the Convention, have been stated in a number of its previous judgments (see, among many other authorities, Steel and Morris v. the United Kingdom, no. 68416/01, §§ 59-60, ECHR 2005-II). The Court's analysis of an alleged violation of the right to a fair trial in respect of cases where incarcerated applicants complain about their absence from hearings in civil proceedings includes the following elements: examination of the manner in which domestic courts assessed the question whether the nature of the dispute required the applicants' personal presence and determination whether domestic courts put in place any procedural arrangements aiming at guaranteeing their effective participation in the proceedings (see Yevdokimov and Others v. Russia, nos. 27236/05 and 10 others, § 48, 16 February 2016).

9. In the leading case of Yevdokimov and Others v. Russia, nos. 27236/05 and 10 others, 16 February 2016, the Court already found a violation in respect of issues similar to those in the present case.

10. Having examined all the material submitted to it and the objection of the Government concerning the application of the six-month rule in case no. 15622/09, the Court has not found any fact or argument capable of persuading it to reach a different conclusion on the admissibility and merits of these complaints. Having regard to its case-law on the subject, the Court dismisses the Government's objection raised in respect of applicator no. 15622/09 and considers that in the instant case the domestic courts deprived the applicants of the opportunity to present their cases effectively and failed to meet their obligation to ensure respect for the principle of a fair trial.

11. These complaints are therefore admissible and disclose a breach of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.