Ornella Feraci

The 'Indirect' Protection of Article 6, para. 1, of the ECHR with Regard to Civil Trial "in Absentia" Concerning the Enforcement of EU Member States' Judgments

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The paper analyses a recent decision of 25 February 2014 issued by the European Court of Human Rights in the "Avotiņš v. Latvia" case (application no. 17502/07), now pending before the Grand Chamber, pursuant to Article 43, para. 1, of the European Convention of Human Rights (hereinafter: ECHR). In the above case the Court excluded that the Latvian courts, by ordering the enforcement of a Cypriot judgment rendered "in absentia" and subject to Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of decisions in civil and commercial matters ("Brussels I" Regulation), have infringed Article 6, para. 1, of the ECHR, concerning the right to a fair trial. The article criticizes the assessment of the Strasbourg Court on the control performed by the requested Member State over the protection of the guarantees enshrined in Article 6, para. 1, of the Convention. In particular, it stresses that the judgment seems to have failed to comply with the "Pellegrini v. Italy"'s test in assessing the 'indirect' or "par ricochet" protection of the ECHR. Moreover, the paper points out that the Latvian courts have not properly verified the effective respect of the defendant's right to a fair trial "in absentia", according to the interpretation of the ground for refusal of recognition and enforcement of decisions provided for by Article 34, para. 2, of the "Brussels I" Regulation. The Author finally highlights the limitations in which the European Court of Human Rights' assessment may incur with regard to situations falling within the EU law's scope of application.


  • In Absentia
  • Enforcement of Foreign Judgments
  • Brussels I Regulation
  • Right to a Fair Trial
  • Article 6
  • Para. 1
  • of the ECHR
  • Indirect Protection


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