Details on the $10 million ECHR lawsuit submitted by LHD lawyers

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A Sydney based  law firm called Leitch Hasson & Dent ( LHD) filled an application at the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, France. It blaims Russia for the death of the passengers on MH17.

Several Australian media reported about this like News.com.au here.

This is the second application submitted to ECHR on MH17. Earlier German lawyer Giemulla submitted an application on behalf of a German next of kin. Details are here.

Several other court cases are being prepared. An overview is here.

The application states that the Russian Federation is responsible for the death of 298 passengers. 33 claimants which are represented by LHD orders the Russian Federation to pay each applicant $10 million. Claiments are 8 from Australia, 1 from New Zealand, and 24 from Malaysia.

I asked ECHR to confirm the registration of the application. ECHR confirms the application has been registered with the ECHR on 9 May 2016. The title of the application is ‘Ayley and Others v. Russia (no. 25714/16)’. Sharlene Ayley is the wife of New Zealand victim Robert Ayley.  The litigation is led by Jerry Skinner.  That claim has been now classified by the Court as ready for judicial determination.

Law firm Friedman Rubin is assisting Jerry Skinner in the application.

More information in this post at the website of Friedman Rubin.

There are 33 applicants who are relatives of victims from Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand. The applicants are raising complaints under Articles 2 (right to life), 3 (prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment) and 13 (right to an effective remedy) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The application has not been communicated to the parties yet and, for the moment, no document is available online.

Two lawyers of LHD are active on this case. An American named Jerome Skinner is leading the case. Australian national Michael Highland is also involved.

Skinner can be seen in this video at Fox Business.

Registration is the first stage in a long process. The registration does not mean there will automatically be a court case by ECHR.

When an application has been lodged with the Court that means that that application has been given a registration number and is awaiting examination first on the admissibility, and, where applicable, on the merits of the case.

There are two main stages in the consideration of applications brought before the Court: the admissibility stage and the merits stage (i.e. the examination of the complaints). If an application does not meet the admissibility criteria (see details in the practical guide below), it is declared inadmissible. If an application is declared admissible, the Court subsequently delivers a judgment (on the merits).

For further information on the admissibility criteria, please consult the practical guide on the admissibility criteria.

There are two major issues with the application.

  • The ECHR Rules  provide that any application made under Article 34 of the Convention is required to be made (Article 35(1)) within six months of the event giving rise to the application.
  • Rule 10(b) governs Article 34 applications to the Court.  That rule requires the plaintiff to demonstrate that “the applicant has complied with the exhaustion of available domestic remedies.

The application by LHD was done not within six months and there is no exhaustion of available domestic remedies either.

Gumshoenews has some more details here.

As a general rule, the Court endeavors to deal with cases within three years after they are brought, but the examination of some applications can take longer and some can be processed more rapidly. Some applications may be classified as urgent and handled on a priority basis, especially in cases where the applicant is alleged to be facing an imminent threat of harm (see document on the priority policy ).

An example of an ECHR case is the death of Dutch cameraman Stan Storimans and 12 others. They were killed by a Russian GRAD missile. In 2o09 an application was filed at ECHR against Russia. Until now the court case has not started.

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