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1.87 Billion Euros for Human Rights Violations! Amounts of Compensation in the ECtHR I InLaw

Why can the Court award 1.87 billion euros in satisfaction in one case and only a few euros in another, and sometimes even limit the amount of damages by a public apology? Does the European Court of Human Rights always award monetary compensation to an applicant? How to determine the fair amount of compensation? What amount of compensation can be expected when applying to the ECtHR?

In finding violations of human rights in its decisions, the ECtHR quite often also awards monetary compensation, which must be reimbursed to the applicants by the offending State, the so-called "just satisfaction".

However, the award of monetary compensation is not an automatic consequence of a positive decision of the European Court of Human Rights. Often, the mere establishment of the fact of violation and the restoration of the previous legal status is sufficient satisfaction for the applicant.

Article 41 of the Convention provides that the Court is to award just satisfaction if there is a real need to do so and national law does not allow for full compensation.

The Court's case-law shows that just satisfaction and its amount directly depend on the pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage caused by the violation of human rights and on the costs incurred by the applicant in resolving his case in legal proceedings both at national level and directly in To the European Court.

If you believe that the violation of human rights in your case has led to serious material damage, you can ask for compensation in your opinion. At the same time, fair satisfaction in specific situations means very different amounts.

Yes, the most expensive compensation in the history of the European Court was 1.87 billion euros! This was the case of Yukos v. Russia (2014), which concerned the appeal of tax sanctions imposed on the Russian oil company Yukos and the violation of property rights and a fair trial. Interestingly, the amount claimed was € 37,981,000,000, and was substantially reduced by the Court as a result of the proceedings!

The chances of receiving compensation, in the amount you claimed when applying, depend on several criteria that guide the Court in deciding each case.

  1. Seriousness of the violation (obviously, in serious cases of human rights violations, which resulted in serious negative consequences, were more prolonged and intense, there is a higher need for monetary compensation. The amount of compensation is usually proportional to the amount of damage caused by the violation).

  2. The applicant's conduct (in each individual case the Court assesses the personal circumstances of the person seeking protection, his status, needs, state of health. It is also important how conscientiously and properly the applicant behaves during the proceedings).

  3. Previous practice in this category of cases (in solving each case, of course, it is best to refer to previous cases, where in similar circumstances was awarded approximately the same amount of compensation).

In the course of the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, some regularities have been formed to determine the amount of fair satisfaction required for damages:

The richer the state, the greater the amount of satisfaction!

In the case law of the Court, one can trace such a regularity that Ukraine, for example, will be charged a lower amount of moral damages than Germany for similar violations.

This is due to two factors at once. First, the purchasing power of the applicants in different countries is taken into account. It is obvious that 100 euros for Ukrainians and Germans will have different weights. Second, the ability of the state to enforce the decision is taken into account in order to avoid excessive burdens due to the award of compensation.

The more people who file similar applications, the less compensation!

If the applicant is not one person, but hundreds, and in some cases thousands, the Court cannot impose such a heavy burden on the State. Moreover, in some cases there may be one or two applicants, who, however, are far from the only victims of the alleged violation. This was the case in the case of Zelenchuk and Tsytsyura v. Ukraine on the illegality of the moratorium on the sale of agricultural land. The court refused to award non-pecuniary damage, primarily in order not to provoke a large number of new complaints.

The highest amounts of compensation are awarded to private companies, most often for violations of Art. 6 of the Convention and Art. 1 of Protocol 1!

Thus, in addition to the already mentioned most expensive case, Yukos v. Russia, there is also the case of Agrocomplex v. Ukraine (2013), in which the applicant was reimbursed € 27 million for unfair litigation in a dispute between the applicant company and the state-owned refinery ( Article 6).

Similarly, Stran Greek Refineries obtained compensation in the amount of EUR 28 million, again for violating Articles 6 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1.

This is mainly due to the fact that this category of cases usually causes the largest amounts of damage.

In general, the higher the claim for compensation you apply to the Court, the higher the compensation you will be able to receive. Moreover, high amounts of just satisfaction in the ECtHR will be a good material incentive for the state to ensure the work of the state apparatus in such a way as to minimize violations of the rights and freedoms of its citizens.

Do you apply to the ECtHR and have doubts about the amount of compensation that will be fair in your particular case? Or you have others questions relating ECHR? - Ask our attorney!

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