Judgment 66292/14

Applicant name PENGEZOV
Applicant type Natural person
Number of applicants 1
Country Bulgaria
Application no. 66292/14
Date 10/10/2023 
Judges Pere Pastor Vilanova, président,
 Yonko Grozev,
 Georgios A. Serghides,
 Darian Pavli,
 Peeter Roosma,
 Ioannis Ktistakis,
 Oddný Mjöll Arnardóttir
Institution Court
Type Judgment
Outcome Art. 8 Violation
Reason Not necessary (public order; rights and freedoms); decision making process
Type of privacy Private life
Keywords Dismissal judge
Facts of the case The application concerns the temporary suspension of the functions of the applicant, who was a judge and president of a court of appeal, due to his indictment for irregularities allegedly committed in the context of his previous functions. It mainly concerns the compatibility of this suspension with the applicant’s right to respect for his private life, as well as compliance with the requirements of a fair trial, concerning in particular the requirement of independence and impartiality and the extent of the control carried out by the Supreme Administrative Court during the judicial review procedure of this decision.
AnalysisReferring to Articles 8 and 13 of the Convention, the applicant maintains that the suspension of his functions violated his right to respect for his private life and that he did not have effective remedies in this regard. The Court considers that it is appropriate to examine this complaint solely from the angle of Article 8 ECHR.

The Court reiterates that under private life, there are three subcategories, namely i) the applicant’s “inner circle”, ii) the possibility for him to form and develop relationships with others, and iii) his social and professional reputation. In addition, the Court reiterates the different approaches it can take and underlines that under a consequence-based approach, such as in this case, it is up to the applicant to convincingly establish that this threshold has been met in his case. Aspecially to the last two subcategories, the Court finds that there was an interference substantial enough to bring it under the scope of the Convention.

The Court consideres that the review carried out by the supreme administrative court was not of sufficient scope having regard to the subject of the decision in question and the arguments developed by the applicant. Having regard to the duration of the criminal proceedings and the absence of avenues of appeal to request the lifting of the suspension measure, the applicant remained uncertain as to the duration of this measure. Such a situation also entails an inherent risk for the independence of the judge in question which the Court must also take into account. Thus, the Court finds a violation
Other Article violation? Yes, Article 6 ECHR, not Article 13 ECHR
Damage awarded the respondent State must pay to the applicant, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, the following sums, to be converted into the currency of the respondent State at the rate applicable on the date of settlement:
4,500 EUR (four thousand five hundred euros), plus any amount that may be due as tax on this sum, for non-pecuniary damage;
EUR 1,626.19 (one thousand six hundred and twenty-six euros and nineteen cents), for costs and expenses, including EUR 399.57 (three hundred and ninety-nine euros and fifty-seven cents), plus all amount that may be owed on this sum by the applicant as tax, to be paid into the account designated by the law firm Ekimdzhiev and associates;
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