a) Armenia / b) Constitutional Court / c) / d) 03-02-2009 / e) DCC-787 / f) On the conformity with the Constitution of Article 8.1 of the Administrative Procedural Code / g) To be published in Tegekagir (Official Gazette) / h) .
Keywords of the Systematic Thesaurus:
Sources - Categories - Written rules - International instruments - European Convention on Human Rights of 1950.
Institutions - Judicial bodies - Jurisdiction.
Institutions - Judicial bodies - Administrative courts.
Fundamental Rights - Civil and political rights - Procedural safeguards, rights of the defence and fair trial - Effective remedy.
Fundamental Rights - Civil and political rights - Procedural safeguards, rights of the defence and fair trial - Right to a hearing.
Keywords of the alphabetical index:
The right of everyone to be heard by a competent court established by law is a component part of the right to judicial protection.
Filing correlated lawsuits directed at the restoration of the same violated right as grounds for filing unconnected, independent and separate cases may result in the breach of procedural guarantees that provide for an effective, complete and comprehensive examination of an individual's case.
The applicant disputed the constitutionality of the provisions of Article 8.1 of the Administrative Procedural Code. The provisions in point did not allow the Administrative Court to examine the civil lawsuit from which the main administrative case within the same proceedings was derived and with which it was inter-connected. The applicant pointed out that if inter-connected cases which fall within the remit of different courts are then examined by those different courts, the rights to an effective remedy and to have one's case heard within a reasonable time are compromised.
The Constitutional Court began by examining the contents of the right to an effective judicial protection, stipulated in Article 19 of the Constitution. A comparative analysis of the phrases "to restore his/her violated rights" and "...his/her case" provided for in the provision of Article 19 of the Constitution, which says "in order to restore his/her violated rights ... has a right of hearing ... of her/his case", leads to the conclusion that the concept of "the hearing of his/her case" includes the combined examination of all those interconnected lawsuits which are aimed at the resolution of one general issue, i.e. the restoration of somebody's violated right in the framework of the same case.
This means that the procedural safeguards provided for in Article 19 of the Constitution, Article 6 ECHR and national procedural legislation are protected not only in the context of the hearing of a specific concrete lawsuit but also in the context and framework of the examination of diverse interrelated lawsuits aimed at the restoration of a violated right, as the final and only target of these lawsuits is the complete restoration of the same violated right. Consequently, the observation of correlated lawsuits directed at the restoration of the same violated right as grounds for filing disconnected, independent and separate cases may result in the breach of procedural guarantees providing for an effective, complete and comprehensive examination of a person's case.
The Constitutional Court held that if a lawsuit derived from the original proceedings is filed in another court, separately from the original proceedings, the Court is in effect deprived of the opportunity to render a fair decision. It violates the right to a fair trial as, in order to render a fair decision, the Court needs to implement a thorough, objective and comprehensive examination of the circumstances of the case, and to do so, it has to turn to the basic legal relations.
The Constitutional Court also considered that the disputed legal regulation could result in breaches of the right to a hearing within a reasonable time and effective judicial protection as set out in Articles 18.1 and 19.1 of the Constitution.
Article 6 of the Administrative Procedural Code stipulates the principle of ex-officio clarification of the circumstances of the case. The rationale behind the latter can be summarised thus. In disputes arising from administrative-legal relations, where a citizen takes proceedings against the administrative body, some sort of favourable condition should be created for the citizen. This presupposes that in the process of resolving disputes arising from administrative-legal relations, citizens should not be overburdened with disproportionate responsibilities.
The Constitutional Court held that the disputed regulation overburdens the plaintiff with disproportionate responsibilities. By preventing the resolution of civil disputes arising from administrative legal relations within the same proceedings, litigants faced with judicial acts arising from their original proceedings are forced to apply to different courts. This state of affairs complicates the protection of individual rights.