The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has ordered Slovenia to pay €85,000 to a claimant whose family home was forcibly sold. A Slovenian local court ordered that the home be sold to repay a debt he owed to the State.
By way of background, Mr. Zoran Vaskrsic filed a complaint to the ECtHR in 2012 following his family’s eviction from their home in order to recoup a four-year-old debt, which originally amounted to €124.
The ECtHR held that the local Slovenian court had breached the European Convention on Human Rights by interfering with the “peaceful enjoyment” of someone’s property. Furthermore, the Court held that the local court had also failed to strike a “fair balance” between the general interest of the community and an individual’s fundamental rights.
Since joining the European Union in 2004, Slovenia, the former Yugoslav republic has been penalised several times by European institutions over judicial irregularities. In particular the State has been cited for the excessively lengthy nature of some court cases which have often been seen to last over several years.
The latest ruling by the ECtHR has highlighted a worrying trend in not only Slovenian procedure but in other Eastern European countries as well. Bulgaria being one such country have been reported for similar procedural irregularities relating to State utilities enlisting the services of private bailiffs who abuse and ignore procedures and often inflict huge fines on citizens. The use of private bailiffs is seen even in cases when the debt is minimal such as in the case of Mr. Vaskrsic.
Click here for the decision in Vaskrsic v Slovenia.