Koceniak v. Poland

Submitted by John Knox on Tue, 06/17/2014 - 00:00
Regional Decisions
European Court

The applicant complained that the authorities had failed to prevent his neighbor from using her property as a slaughterhouse and meat-processing facility, which interfered with his rights under Article 8.  The Court noted that "under Article 8 the alleged nuisance must have attained the minimum level of severity required for it to amount to an interference with applicants' right to respect for their private lives and their homes.  The assessment of that minimum is relative and depends on all the circumstances: the intensity and duration of the nuisance, its physical or mental effects, the general context, and whether the detriment complained of was negligible in comparison to the environmental hazards symptomatic of life in every modern city."  The Court also stated that it may review the decision-making process to ensure that it balances the interests of the community against the individual's right to respect for his or her home and private life.  "[A]lthough Article 8 contains no explicit procedural requirements, that process must be fair and must afford due respect to the interests of the individual safeguarded by Article 8.  In particular, the individuals concerned must also be able to appeal to the courts against any decision, act or omission where they consider that their interests or their comments have not been given sufficient weight."

In this case, the Court held that the applicant did not substantiate his complaint.  He did not, for example, provide any medical or environmental expert opinions or other evidence of the damage allegedly caused to him, or show that the pollution exceeded safe levels set by the applicable regulations.  As a result, the Court found the application inadmissable.