Strasbourg Court Revises Judgment Against Bulgaria

Business | July 8, 2024, Monday // 14:18
Bulgaria: Strasbourg Court Revises Judgment Against Bulgaria

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has overturned a previous judgment against Bulgaria for the first time, declaring the complaint inadmissible following a request by government agents from the Ministry of Justice. This extraordinary procedure was initiated on the grounds that the behavior of the applicant and their legal representative constituted an abuse of right.

In the case "Y.T. v. Bulgaria," the complaint centered on the Bulgarian courts' refusal to permit a legal change of gender for the applicant. Initially, the regional court's decision in 2016, upheld by a district court, denied entry into the population registers for the applicant's requested changes in sex, names, and social security number.

The European Court of Human Rights had previously ruled on July 9, 2020, finding a violation of the right to respect for private and family life. It awarded compensation totaling 7,500 euros for non-pecuniary damages and an additional 4,150 euros for costs and expenses. The Court criticized the national courts' reasoning, citing a lack of specific explanation regarding public interest and proportionality concerning the applicant's right to gender identity recognition.

Subsequent to this ruling, government agents investigating the case discovered that during the proceedings before the Strasbourg Court, the applicant, represented by the same legal counsel, had successfully initiated separate proceedings under the Bulgarian Civil Registration Act in a different judicial district. By June 2017, the applicant's data had been altered in the Civil Status Register, a development unknown to the Strasbourg Court at the time of its decision.

Based on these findings, the Bulgarian government applied to the European Court of Human Rights for an extraordinary review of the initial decision, arguing that the applicant and their legal representative had abused their right to appeal by failing to disclose the parallel proceedings.

On July 4, 2024, the Strasbourg Court granted the request for reconsideration, emphasizing the obligation of applicants to disclose all relevant information and cooperate fully to ensure the proper administration of justice. The Court underscored that in this instance, the applicant and their lawyer deliberately withheld information about the parallel proceedings under the Civil Registration Act, which significantly impacted the case's outcome.

As a result of the reconsideration, the European Court of Human Rights has now declared the complaint inadmissible, and the applicant is required to voluntarily reimburse the compensation received from the state. Failure to comply may result in the state pursuing legal action to recover these funds through court proceedings.

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Tags: European, court, Bulgaria

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