Pichkur v Ukraine (Legal Summary): ECHR 7 Nov 2013

ECHR Article 14
Termination of payment of retirement pension on the ground that beneficiary was permanently resident abroad: violation
Facts – In 1996 the applicant, who was then living in Ukraine, retired and began to receive a retirement pension. He emigrated to Germany in 2000. In 2005, after discovering that the applicant was now permanently resident abroad, the Ukrainian authorities decided to terminate his pension payments in accordance with the relevant provisions of the General State Pension (Obligatory Insurance) Act. The Constitutional Court of Ukraine declared those provisions unconstitutional on 7 October 2009. In 2011 a Ukrainian district court ordered the authorities to resume payment of the applicant’s pension with effect from the date of the Constitutional Court’s judgment. The district court’s judgment was upheld on appeal.
Law – Article 14 in conjunction with Article 1of Protocol No. 1: The applicant could no longer claim to be a victim of the alleged violation for the period after 7 October 2009. As to the preceding period, had he continued to reside in Ukraine or returned to live there, he would have continued to receive a pension. His interests thus fell within the scope of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1, which was sufficient to render Article 14 applicable. The applicant had complained of a difference in treatment on the basis of his place of residence, which constituted an aspect of personal status for the purposes of Article 14. The instant case had to be distinguished from the Carson v. the United Kingdom judgment*, in which the difference in treatment had concerned the lack of indexation of existing pensions for persons residing in certain foreign States, while nobody had questioned the applicants’ entitlement to the pension as such. In the instant case, however, the entitlement to the pension itself had been made dependent on the applicant’s place of residence, resulting in a situation in which the applicant, having worked for many years in Ukraine and having contributed to the pension scheme, had been deprived of it altogether, on the sole ground that he no longer lived there. He had been in a relevantly similar situation to pensioners living in Ukraine. No justification for the difference in treatment had ever been advanced by the authorities. The Government had not relied on considerations of international cooperation in that context. The rise in population mobility, higher levels of international cooperation and integration, and developments in the banking-services and information-technology sectors no longer justified technically motivated restrictions in respect of beneficiaries of social-security payments living abroad. The difference in treatment at issue had therefore been in breach of Article 14 read in conjunction with Article 1 of Protocol No. 1.
Conclusion: violation (unanimously).
Article 41: EUR 5,000 in respect of pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage.

10441/06 – Legal Summary, [2013] ECHR 1313
European Convention on Human Rights
Human Rights
See AlsoPichkur v Ukraine ECHR 21-Sep-2010
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Cited by:
Legal SummaryPichkur v Ukraine ECHR 7-Nov-2013
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Human Rights

Updated: 27 November 2021; Ref: scu.519056