Udovicic v. Croatia

Submitted by John Knox on Thu, 07/24/2014 - 00:00
Regional Decisions
European Court

The applicant complained that noise from a bar below her home interfered with her rights protected by Article 8 of the European Convention.  The Court recalled that "Although the object of Article 8 is essentially that of protecting the individual against arbitrary interference by public authorities, this may involve those authorities adopting measures designed to secure respect for private life even in the sphere of relations between individuals.  Whether the case is analysed in terms of a positive duty on the State to take reasonable and appropriate measures to secure the applicants' rights under paragraph 1 of Article 8 or in terms of an interference by a public authority to be justified in accordance with paragraph 2, the applicable principles are broadly similar."  Although the evidence was mixed, the Court concluded that the disturbances from the bar reached the minimum level of severity that required the authorities to implement measures to protect the applicant.

The Court noted that there are two aspects to its assessment of a governmental decision under Article 8:  the Court may assess the substantive merits of the government's decision, and it may review the decision-making process itself.  On the second point, the Court concluded that by allowing the situation to persist for more than ten years without finally settling the issue, the State had "failed to approach the matter with due diligence and to give proper consideration to all competing interests, and thus to discharge its positive obligation to ensure that applicant's right to respect for her home and her private life."  It awarded the applicant damages.