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THE FACTS

The applicant, Mr Louis Depalle, is a French national who was born in 1919 and lives in Monistrol d’Allier. He was represented before the Court by Mr P. Blondel, a lawyer practising in Paris. The French Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mrs E. Belliard, Director of Legal Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

A.  The circumstances of the case

The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.

On 3 November 1960 the applicant and his wife purchased by notarial deed a dwelling house built on land belonging to the municipality of Arradon, in the Morbihan département. The house had been built on a dyke that overlapped with land on the seashore falling within the category of maritime public property.

It can be seen from the various documents relating to the house that, by a decision of 5 October 1889, the Prefect of Morbihan had authorised Mr A., in consideration of payment of a fee, to “retain on maritime public property in the cove of Kérion, in the municipality of Arradon, a dyke ... on which stood a dwelling house” (which, according to the Government, had been built prior to that decision despite a decision of the prefect of 31 May 1856 refusing an application for a building permit). The decision of 1889 specified that the dyke, irregularly shaped and of a surface area of 359.40 sq. m, on which stood the dwelling house measuring 7.60 m by 6.60 m, “cannot interfere in any way with navigation or maritime coastal traffic on condition that steps are built at each end of the dyke in order to facilitate public access” and that the authorities “reserved the right to modify or withdraw the authorisation without the permittee thereby acquiring any right to claim compensation or damages in that regard. He must, if required, restore the site to its original state”.

Following the death of Mr A., his two daughters requested authorisation from the authorities to keep the house on the same terms as their parents. Authorisation was granted them by decision of 9 July 1897 conferring a right of temporary occupancy of the public property in question. The house was subsequently transferred in 1909 and sold in 1957, with the title deeds specifying each time that the small house built on maritime land was included in the sale.

 

The relevant passages of the deed of sale of 1960 read as follows:

“History of the property:

The house is the joint property ... of Mr T., vendor, and Mrs T., his wife, following the purchase thereof with their joint funds.

With a plot of land situated in the municipality of Arradon, at the edge of Morbihan Bay, between the villages of Pen ar men and Kérion... .

From Mr L. ... husband of Mrs A., by deed signed before Mr C., a notary in Vannes, on sixteenth and nineteenth March and tenth April nineteen hundred and fifty-seven.

The property was purchased for a total price of seven million five hundred thousand francs....

The property sold to Mr and Mrs T. under the terms of the above-mentioned deed was the separate property of the above-named Mr L., who had inherited it together with other property from his father... .

Title – Entry into possession:

The purchasers hereby acquire title to the property conveyed to them under this deed, and shall enter into actual possession thereof from today’s date... .”

Following this purchase, and in order to acquire legal access to the house, the applicant and his wife were granted rights of temporary occupancy of maritime public property that were regularly renewed in 1961, 1975, 1986 and 1991. The authorisation of temporary occupancy of 1986 specified that the applicant sought “the renewal of the prefectoral decision of 17 August 1961 authorising the construction of a dyke with a dwelling house on it ...”. The last agreement granting them the right to occupy public property expired on 31 December 1992. The decisions specified that “the authorities reserve the right to modify or withdraw the authorisation should they deem it necessary, on any ground whatsoever, without the permittee thereby acquiring any right to claim damages or compensation in that regard. The permittee must, if required, restore the site to its original state by demolishing the constructions built on the public property, including those existing on the date on which the decision was signed. Should he fail to comply with that obligation, the authorities shall do so of their own motion and at his expense”.

By a letter of 14 March 1993 the applicant and his wife requested the Prefect of Morbihan to renew authorisation of their occupancy.

By a letter dated 6 September 1993 the Prefect of Morbihan offered to grant the applicant and his wife, in the form of a contract, limited authorisation subject to a number of conditions among which was a prohibition on carrying out any work on the property other than maintenance work, and reserving an option to the State, on expiry of the authorisation, to have the property restored to its original state or to reuse the buildings, and the possibility for the State, should the applicant fail to comply with any of the contractual conditions, to rescind the agreement without any compensation, an express provision excluding any right to compensation in favour of the beneficiaries under the occupancy agreement in the event that they should seek to rescind it and, lastly, authorisation of strictly personal use of the property in question during their lives and prohibiting any sale or transfer of the land and house.

By a letter dated 19 November 1993, the applicant and his wife rejected the prefect’s offer and sought a permit to build a dyke that would be valid as a transfer of ownership under Article L. 64 of the Code of State Property.

On 9 March 1994 the Prefect of Morbihan, basing his decision on section 25 of Law no. 86-2 of 3 January 1986 on the Development, Protection and Improvement of Coastal Areas, considered that the permit requested was not justified in any general public interest. He did, however, renew his offer to grant the applicant and his wife a right of temporary occupancy subject to conditions.

On 5 May 1994 the applicant and his wife applied to the Rennes Administrative Court for the prefect’s decision of 9 March 1994 to be set aside. In support of their application, they submitted that the refusal to grant them a permit to build a dyke was unlawful.

By a letter of 4 July 1994 the Prefect of Morbihan served notice on the applicant and his wife to regularise their status as unauthorised occupants of public property. That notice was renewed on 10 April 1995.

On 6 September 1995 the Public Works Department of the Morbihan département drew up an official report recording the administrative offence of unlawful interference with the public highway and noting the unlawful occupancy of the land by the applicant, contrary to the provisions of Article L. 28 of the Code of State Property.

On 20 December 1995 the Prefect of Morbihan lodged an application with the Rennes Administrative Court citing the applicant and his wife as defendants in respect of an offence of unlawful interference with the public highway as they continued to unlawfully occupy public property. He sought an order against them to pay a fine and restore the seashore to its original state prior to construction of the house and the dyke on which it stood, within three months.

On 19 February 1996 the Revenue Department served notice on the applicant to pay the amounts due for the years 1995 and 1996 for unauthorised occupancy of public property, namely, a total of 56,754 French francs (FRF).

By two separate judgments delivered on 20 March 1997, the Rennes Administrative Court ruled on the application lodged on 5 May 1994 by the applicants (case no. 941506) and the application lodged by the Prefect of Morbihan on 20 December 1995 (case no. 953517).

The application lodged by the applicant and his wife for the prefect’s decision rejecting their request for a permit to build a dyke (case no. 941506) to be set aside was dismissed by the Rennes Administrative Court, which found that the decision of 9 March 1994 had been lawful. It held that the decision did not of itself have any effect on the incorporation of the dyke and the dwelling house into maritime public property. It found that the permit requested was not justified in the general public interest.

 The application lodged by the Prefect of Morbihan (case no. 953517) was granted, however. The court stated that “the land on which Mr and Mrs Depalle’s house stands is indeed public property”. With regard to the offence of unlawful interference with the public highway, the court held that

“whilst Mr and Mrs Depalle have full title to the dwelling house occupied by them and claim, accordingly, that they are therefore not the unlawful occupants of public property, the fact remains that the erection of a permanent structure on public property could not be legally undertaken without either a permit to build a dyke or another type of permit. The investigation into the facts and, in particular, the absence of any documents evidencing that a permit was granted, show that the dwelling house in question was illegally built on maritime public property. Accordingly, and despite the production by the owners of undisputed title deeds, the prefect is justified in requesting an order against Mr Depalle to pay a fine and restore the seashore to its original state prior to the construction of the house. ... Mr Depalle is hereby ordered to restore the site to its original state prior to construction of the house within three months of service of this judgment ...”

On 2 July 1997 the applicant and his wife lodged an appeal against the judgment delivered in case no. 953517. On 7 July 1997 they appealed against the judgment delivered in case no. 941506.

In support of their appeal against the judgment delivered in case no. 941506, the applicant and his wife submitted that the land in question was not public property belonging to the State. They maintained that the land was private property belonging to the State with the twofold effect that the usual rules governing acquisition by adverse possession and by a private person were applicable and that the administrative courts did not have jurisdiction to examine the dispute.

By a judgment of 8 December 1999 the Nantes Administrative Court decided to join the two sets of proceedings on the ground that they were connected and to dismiss the applicant and his wife’s appeals on the following grounds:

“With regard to the application ... concerning the offence of unlawful interference with the public highway:

The offence was committed by Mr Depalle on 1 January 1993 .... The official report recording the offence was not drawn up until 6 September 1995 ... the prosecution was therefore time-barred. Accordingly, there is no need to rule on the pleadings lodged by the Prefect of Morbihan seeking an order against Mr Depalle to pay a fine.

... It is not disputed that the land on which the dyke on which the house occupied by Mr and Mrs Depalle was built was entirely covered by water, independent of any exceptional meteorological circumstances, prior to the dredging works undertaken in order to build the dyke.  It has not been established, or even alleged by the applicants moreover, that the undredged portion of this land had ever been removed from the action of the tide. The investigation shows, moreover, that the dyke is the result of land dredging carried out prior to the entry into force of the Act of 28 November 1963 ... and that, as this was not done in the manner prescribed for permits for the construction of a dyke, notwithstanding the various authorisations of temporary occupancy granted by the authorities, it has not had the effect of bringing this part of the land outside the category of maritime public property thus removed from the action of the tide. In accordance with the principles of inalienability and imprescriptibility of public property, the submissions by Mr and Mrs Depalle to the effect that the house was built illegally but its occupancy accepted by the authorities for a very long time and tolerated even after expiry of the last authorisation to occupy it do not affect the fact that the property falls within the category of maritime public property.

As has been said, the last decision in favour of Mr and Mrs Depalle authorising temporary occupancy of the maritime public property ... expired on 31 December 1992. In the absence, since that date, of a lawful title of occupancy, the Prefect of Morbihan is justified in requesting an order against the occupants to restore the site – if they have not already done so – to its original state prior to construction of the house on maritime public property. In disputing that obligation, the applicants cannot properly rely on the number of years of occupancy of the premises or on the fact that the authorities have tolerated the continuation of that occupancy since 31 December 1992 and offered them draft occupancy agreements in order to regularise the situation, which, moreover, they have not taken up. ...”

The Administrative Court held that the obligation to restore the site to its original state within three months of service of its judgment (failing which the authorities would do so of their own motion, with the costs and risks to be borne by the occupants) did not constitute a measure prohibited by Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 because the rule enshrined in that provision was that no one could be deprived of their possessions except in the public interest.

On 21 February 2000 the applicant lodged an appeal on points of law against the judgment of 8 December 1999. The Government Commissioner made the following submissions:

“... the value in today’s terms of the purchase price [of the] house is 1,067,143 euros .... However, the acquisition of rights in rem is not permitted under the Act of 25 July 1994 on Natural Public Property belonging to the State ... nor were these acquired before that Act was passed ... The appellants have not acquired any property right ... given the precarious situation of the buildings, the market value could not be established without taking account of that essential fact and it is to be hoped that the applicants were duly informed of the position when the purchase deeds were drawn up ...”

By a judgment delivered on 6 March 2002 the Conseil d’Etat dismissed the applicant’s appeal. It held that he could not rely on any right in rem over the land in question or over the buildings that had been erected on it and that the obligation to restore the land to its original state without any prior compensation was therefore not a measure prohibited by Article 1 of Protocol No. 1. It also held that the applicant could not rely on the fact that the authorities had adopted a tolerant attitude regarding the occupancy of the property in support of his submission that he should be allowed to restore the site to the state it had been in at the time of acquisition of the house.

B.  Relevant domestic law and practice

1.  Code of State Property

Article L. 28

“Subject to authorisation being issued by the competent authority, no one may occupy any national public property or make use thereof over and above the right of user vested in everyone.

The Property Department shall record any infringement of the provisions of the preceding paragraph with a view to instituting proceedings against illegal occupants, recovering compensation for fees in respect of which the Treasury Department has been defrauded, without prejudice to the institution of proceedings for unlawful interference with the highway.”

Article L. 52

“Public property is inalienable and imprescriptible.”

Article L. 64

“The State may concede on conditions it shall determine ... the right to build a dyke ... on public or State land...”

2.  Law no.  63-1178 of 28 November 1963 on Maritime Public Property [codified in 2006, Article L 2111-4 et seq. of the Code of Property owned by Public Bodies]

Article 1

“Subject to the rights of third parties, the following are part of maritime public property:

a)  the soil and subsoil of the territorial waters...

b)  land naturally reclaimed from the sea and, subject to any contrary provisions stipulated in a deed of concession, land that is artificially removed from the action of the tide...”

Article 5

“Anyone who ... has undertaken construction work on land reserved for public facilities without lawfully granted authorisation shall be liable to a fine of between FRF 1,500 and FRF 1,500,000.

The court may order the demolition of illegal buildings within a period it shall determine.

On the expiry of that period, demolition may be carried out on the authorities’ own motion at the expense of the wrongdoer.”

3.  Law no. 86-2 of 3 January 1986 on the Development, Protection and Improvement of Coastal Areas

Section 25

“Decisions regarding the use of maritime public property shall take account of the vocation of the zones in question and those of the neighbouring terrestrial areas, as well as of the requirements of conservation of coastal sites and landscapes and biological resources. Accordingly, they shall be coordinated with, inter alia, decisions concerning neighbouring public land ...”

Section 27

 “... there shall be no interference with the natural state of the seashore, such as by dyke construction ... other than for structures ... related to providing a public service or carrying out public works ... and that have been declared of public interest.

However, land dredging prior to the present Law shall continue to be governed by the previous legislation.”

COMPLAINTS

1. Relying on Article 6 § 1 of the Convention, the applicant complained of the disproportionate nature of the penalty ordering him to demolish his house. In his submission, the penalty imposed on him for interference with the public highway was criminal in nature for the purposes of the Convention.

2.  Relying on Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention, the applicant complained that his house had been expropriated without any ground of public interest being cited and without prior compensation.

3.  The Court subsequently communicated the application under Article 8 of the Convention.

THE LAW

A.      The complaint based on a violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention

1.  The Government

According to the Government, a penalty for unlawful interference with the highway could not be regarded as a criminal sanction for the purposes of Article 6 of the Convention.

The statutory basis for the rules governing the offences in question lay in the Ordinance of the Marine of 3 August 1681 read in conjunction with the provisions of the Law of 29 Floréal An X, and not in the Criminal Code. The Conseil d’Etat had always recognised the specificity of such offences, which were not petty offences (CE 22 June 1987, Rognant). The penalties had to be regarded as administrative, and not criminal, ones as was clear from domestic law, the case-law of the Conseil d’Etat (CE, 6 April 2001 SA Singer) and the case-law of the Constitutional Council (decision of 23 September 1987). Furthermore, over and above a prosecution intended to result in the imposition of a fine for interference with the integrity of public property, the purpose of establishing an offence of unlawful interference with the highway was to secure the restoration of the public property in question to its former state. Accordingly, State property proceedings were aimed exclusively at repairing damage caused to public property. They did not therefore fall within the purview of the principles governing criminal law (no negligence or criminal intention; no deferment of sentence; no limitation period; no benefit of an amnesty; no principle of discretionary prosecution; and exemption from the non bis in idem principle). With regard to the degree of severity of the penalty, the fact that it was a mixed one did not mean that a penalty for interference with the highway was criminal in nature. The criminal aspect was limited to the prosecution and the fine of 500 French francs (FRF) in the present case, which was moreover statute-barred. Above all, the obligation to restore public property to its original state was designed to ensure that damage was repaired rather than to deter or punish.

Should the Court conclude that the penalty imposed in the State property proceedings was criminal in nature, the Government considered it to be proportionate in that it was necessary for the restoration and protection of natural public property. In the alternative, the Government submitted that the proportionality of a penalty was not among the procedural guarantees afforded by Article 6 of the Convention.

 

2.  The applicant

The applicant argued that the penalty imposed on him fell within the scope of Article 6 of the Convention and was disproportionate.

3.  The Court

The Court reiterates that it has already found that a demolition order in respect of an illegally built house can be regarded as a “penalty” for the purposes of the Convention (see Hamer v. Belgium, no. 21861/03, 27 November 2007, § 60). It has thus brought such orders within the criminal head of Article 6 of the Convention having regard to the classification and nature of the offence under Belgian law. In the Belgian case, however, the applicant’s complaint concerned a reasonable time. In the present case the applicant is complaining about the consequences of the penalty for unlawful interference with the highway on the house of which he claims to be the owner, and he questions the “proportionality” of the “penalty” in question. The Court does not consider it necessary to determine whether Article 6 of the Convention is applicable to the proceedings in question under its civil or criminal head because it considers it more appropriate to consider the question of the proportionality of the measure under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1. Accordingly, the Court will reclassify the complaint formulated by the applicant, the question of the consequences of tolerance on the part of the authorities on possible pecuniary interests having given rise to a discussion before it under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (see Hamer, cited above, and Öneryildiz v. Turkey [GC], no. 48939/99, ECHR 2004).

B.  The complaint based on Article 1 of Protocol No. 1

1.  The Government

In the Government’s submission, occupants of maritime public property could not lay any claim to a right of property. In the present case, they explained, Mr Aderven, who had originally built the constructions in question on public property, had not had any right to property or any authorisation of temporary occupancy. It was only on account of his needy circumstances that he was authorised, by a decision of 1889, to occupy – by virtue of a precarious title and for a fee – the dyke and house illegally built by him. The next two deeds of sale referred to the construction of the house on maritime public property. The deed of sale to the applicant of 3 November 1960 specified that it was built on maritime land, dyke no. 7, “in respect of which the purchasers shall reach an agreement with the relevant authorities as to enjoyment thereof”. Accordingly, whilst the decisions authorising occupancy issued in favour of the applicant and his predecessors referred to the occupation of a dyke and a house, they did not have the effect of recognising that any property right had vested in the successive occupants of the public property belonging to the State.

The Government also maintained that the applicant could not validly rely on Articles L. 34-1 et seq. of the Code of State Property. The establishment of rights in rem over public property, which had been possible only since the Act of 25 July 1994 (Article L. 34-1), did not include natural public property, but was limited to the exercise of an activity authorised by an occupancy title, which the applicant did not have.

The Government pointed out, lastly, that the applicant had been fully aware of the precarious nature of his rights over the seashore and of the unusual nature of his situation on maritime public property. The last authorisation granted to Mr Depalle mentioned the obligation to restore the site to its original state, “by demolishing the buildings erected on the public property, including those existing on the date on which the decision was signed”.

With regard to the effect of the applicant’s property deeds on the rights of the State, the Government submitted that, like all private landlords, the State was entitled to the protection of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 in respect of public property. Conversely, that Article could not be relied on by the applicant because public property was inalienable and imprescriptible. The State was therefore entitled to authorise occupation of maritime public property without that authorisation thereby constituting rights other than mere rights of enjoyment. The property deeds belonging to the applicant did not alter the position in any way. In the first place parties could not be permitted to come to an arrangement amongst themselves to sell property belonging to another and, secondly, as the “transferor” had merely had a right of temporary enjoyment he could not legally transfer full title to a building. The applicant should have been informed accordingly when the purchase deed was drawn up.

With regard to the effect of the length of time during which the applicant had occupied the site, the Government stated that the acceptance and tolerance of the occupation for thirty-three years did not alter the fact that the site fell within the category of public property in accordance with the principle that public property was imprescriptible. The issue as to whether the site on which the house stood was public or private property had been settled in favour of the former solution by the domestic courts, which were well placed to assess questions of fact. Even supposing that the land were part of private State property and accordingly did not benefit from the protection of Article L. 52 of the Code of State Property, the applicant could not have acquired the dyke and the house by adverse possession because the occupancy in question had not been that of an owner, but of a precarious occupant of land conceded by the State. The Government pointed out in that connection that in order to rely on adverse possession the occupants had to have unequivocal possession, which was not the case here. Accordingly, the lack of a property title precluded any claim for compensation.

In the alternative, the Government submitted that the rules governing State-owned property satisfied the conditions set forth in paragraph 2 of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 in that they were part of the State’s right to control the use of property in accordance with the general interest. The inalienability and imprescriptibility of public property were dictated by the concern to ensure that it was directly and permanently managed for use by all citizens. The State accordingly had a duty to safeguard public property against illegal occupants by taking legal action against offenders, contesting any private use that no longer conformed to the purpose for which the land was designated or not renewing an occupancy title. In the present case authorisations had been granted as long as they were compatible with the designated use of the public property. The successive decisions specified that the occupation requested was not such as to interfere with navigation or maritime coastal traffic on condition that the dyke be accessible to the public at all times.

The legal context had evolved over the past years with the enactment of the “Coastal Areas” Act of 1986 and the drive to implement an active policy of environmental protection. Section 27 of that Act prohibited any interference with the natural state of the seashore. In 1992 the authorities had been justified in ensuring compliance with the principles laid down by law by taking the view that dwelling houses for purely private use were no longer compatible with the use for which maritime public property was intended. It was the State’s right to implement laws that it deemed necessary to regulate the use of property in accordance with the general interest within the meaning of the second paragraph of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1. The Government considered that interference by the State to be proportionate: the applicant had been offered limited authorisation to occupy it subject to a number of conditions but had refused the offer.

2.  The applicant

The applicant reiterated that the dredging works and construction of the dwelling house dated back to the end of the nineteenth century and that, by a decision of 5 October 1889, the Prefect of Morbihan had indicated that the dyke on which the dwelling house already stood had been the subject of dredging works bringing it outside the category of maritime public property as early as 1886. At no time had the dredging works been considered to be illegal. Moreover, the notarial deed by which he had purchased the house did not provide for any easement or restriction of any kind whatsoever. Since the house in question had been transferred a number of times, was of value and had been the subject of purchase money paid by the buyer, a right of property did exist. The property in question was indeed private, and not State, property – with the consequences that derived from that – and was a “possession” within the meaning of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1.

According to the applicant, the imprescriptibility of property falling within the category of public property did not preclude the applicability of Protocol No. 1. The point at issue was whether the State could properly establish an administrative offence of unlawful interference with the highway and compel the owner of a lawfully acquired house that had been built more than a hundred years ago to demolish it at his own expense without any compensation whatsoever.

The applicant added that if the State were to appropriate the house, it would have to compensate the owners for all the loss incurred as a result. To maintain that a right of property transferred between private parties could not be asserted against the State was tantamount to denying civil law and creating virtual ownership, which was not covered by law or any principle. Any reasonable person could see that ordering demolition at the owner’s cost amounted to a straightforward expropriation.

The applicant denied that the State had an overriding interest in demolishing a house. In his submission, the “Coastal Areas” Act did not affect the issue because it had come into force long after the constructions in question had been built and, moreover, it had never been alleged that the house failed to meet a landscape or aesthetic requirement.

3.  The Court

The Court notes that the parties have diverging views regarding the question whether the applicant has a “possession” within the meaning of Article 1 of Protocol No.1 and thus whether that provision applies in the instant case. However, it considers that this question, particularly whether the imprescriptibility and inalienability of maritime public property preclude the applicability of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1, lends itself rather to an examination of the merits of the complaint under the latter provision.

As to the rest, the Court considers, in the light of all the arguments put forward by the parties, that the complaint raises serious issues of fact and law which cannot be resolved at this stage in the examination of the application, but require examination on the merits. It follows that this complaint cannot be declared manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 of the Convention. No other ground for declaring the application inadmissible has been established.

C.  The complaint based on a violation of Article 8 of the Convention

The Government submitted that the house in question was not the applicant’s home, since there was no evidence to establish whether he had strong ties with the house, including as his secondary residence. Moreover, they argued that the interference was in accordance with the law and pursued a legitimate aim, namely, guaranteeing everyone access to maritime public property and reinforcing this by protecting the natural state of the seashore with the “Coastal Areas” Act. With regard to the necessity of the interference in a democratic society, the Government pointed out that the house had been built illegally and that the applicant had “alternative accommodation” (Chapman v. the United Kingdom [GC], no. 27238/95, ECHR 2001-I) as declared by him under “domicile” in his application form. Moreover, the Prefect of Morbihan had attempted to reconcile the social need to protect maritime public property and the coastline from illegal construction with the applicant’s legitimate attachment to the house of Kérion by offering to allow him to use the land in question for a purpose other than that for which it had been designated; he had refused, however. The conduct of the authorities had therefore been proportionate to the aim pursued.

The applicant stated that the house did qualify as a home because he and his family lived there several months per year. There could be no requirement to demolish a house that was part of the national cultural heritage and was integrated into the landscape.

The Court considers, in the light of all the arguments submitted by the parties, that the complaint raises serious questions of fact and law that cannot be resolved at this stage of the examination of the application but require examination on the merits. It follows that this complaint cannot be declared manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 of the Convention. No other ground for declaring the application inadmissible has been established.

For these reasons, the Court unanimously

Declares the application admissible under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 and Article 8 of the Convention, without prejudging the merits of the case.

DEPALLE v. FRANCE DECISION


DEPALLE v. FRANCE DECISION