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ECtHR / Application nos. 18766/11 and 36030/11 / Judgment

Oliari and Others v Italy

Policy area:
Justice, freedom and security
Deciding Body type:
European Court of Human Rights
Deciding Body:
European Court of Human Rights / Fourth Section
Type:
Decision
Decision date:
21/07/2015

Key facts of the case:

  1. The case originated in two applications (nos. 18766/11 and 36030/11) against the Italian Republic lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by six Italian nationals, Mr Enrico Oliari, Mr A., Mr Gian Mario Felicetti, Mr Riccardo Perelli Cippo, Mr Roberto Zaccheo and Mr Riccardo Zappa (“the applicants”), on 21 March and 10 June 2011 respectively.
  2. The first two applicants were represented by Mr A. Schuster, a lawyer practising in Trent. The remaining applicants were represented by Ms M. D’Amico, Mr M. Clara and Mr C. Pitea, lawyers practising in Milan. The Italian Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Ms Ersiliagrazia Spatafora.
  3. The applicants complained that the Italian legislation did not allow them to get married or enter into any other type of civil union and thus they were being discriminated against as a result of their sexual orientation. They cited Articles 8, 12 and 14 of the Convention.
  4. On 3 December 2013 the Chamber to which the case was allocated decided that the complaints concerning Article 8 alone and in conjunction with Article 14 were to be communicated to the Government. It further decided that the applications should be joined.
  5. On 7 January 2013 the Vice-President of the Section to which the case had been allocated decided to grant anonymity to one of the applicants under Rule 47 § 3 of the Rules of Court.
  6. Written observations were also received from FIDH, AIRE Centre, ILGA-Europe, ECSOL, UFTDU and UDU jointly, Associazione Radicale Certi Diritti, and ECLJ (European Centre for Law and Justice), which had been given leave to intervene by the Vice-President of the Chamber (Article 36 § 2 of the Convention). Mr Pavel Parfentev on behalf of seven Russian NGOS (Family and Demography Foundation, For Family Rights, Moscow City Parents Committee, Saint-Petersburg City Parents Committee, Parents Committee of Volgodonsk City, the regional charity “Svetlitsa” Parents’ Culture Centre, and the “Peterburgskie mnogodetki” social organisation), and three Ukrainian NGOS (the Parental Committee of Ukraine, the Orthodox Parental Committee, and the Health Nation social organisation), had also been given leave to intervene by the Vice-President of the Chamber. However, no submissions have been received by the Court.
  7. The Government objected to the observations submitted by FIDH, AIRE Centre, ILGA-Europe, ECSOL, UFTDU and UDU jointly, as they had reached the Court after the set deadline, namely on 27 March 2014 instead of 26 March 2014. The Court notes that at the relevant time the Vice-President of the Chamber did not take a decision to reject the submissions presented, which were in fact sent to the parties for comment. The Court, having considered that the observations were anticipated by e‑mail and received by the Court at 2.00 a.m. on 27 March 2014, and that the hard copy received by fax later that day contained an apology as well as an explanation for the delay, rejects the Government’s objection.
  8. The applicants in application no. 18766/11 requested that an oral hearing be held in the case. On 30 June 2015 the Court considered this request. It decided that having regard to the materials before it an oral hearing was not necessary.

Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:

THE COURT, UNANIMOUSLY,

  1. Declares the complaints under Article 8 alone and Article 14 in conjunction with Article 8 admissible, and the remainder of the applications inadmissible;
  2. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 8 of the Convention;
  3. Holds that there is no need to examine the complaint under Article 14 in conjunction with Article 8 of the Convention;
  4. Holds

(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicants, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, the following amounts:

(i) EUR 5,000 (five thousand euros) each, plus any tax that may be chargeable, in respect of non-pecuniary damage;

(ii) EUR 4,000 (four thousand euros), jointly, to the applicants in application no. 18766/11, plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicants, in respect of costs and expenses;

(iii) EUR 10,000 (ten thousand euros), jointly, to the applicants in application no. 36030/11, plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicants, in respect of costs and expenses, to be paid directly into their representatives’ bank accounts;

(b) that from the expiry of the above-mentioned three months until settlement simple interest shall be payable on the above amounts at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points;

  1. Dismisses the remainder of the applicants’ claim for just satisfaction.