EU rights court rejects 'abusive' serial appeals by Serb

15th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday threw out 11 appeals made by a Serbian lawyer who has lodged over 500, including several in the name of people who died.

The court rejected the latest 11 appeals by Milhailo Petrovic against Serbia as "abusive" and "inadmissable".

The appeals were made in Petrovic's name but in them "he referred to or complained about events and proceedings clearly related to people other than himself," said the ECHR statement.

"Morevover, he has applied the same practice in more than 400 cases that he has lodged before the court against Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Hercegovina, as well as the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia," the statement added.

Petrovic also brought over 100 cases before the court on behalf of other applicants, acting as their lawyer.

On "at least three occasions" he represented people who were dead, the court said.

In March 2010 the ECHR, already struggling to deal with its workload, banned Petrovic from bringing any more cases before the court.

But he ignored the ban and complained about his loss of earnings when his legal fees were not reimbursed by the court.

His "actions are therefore in contempt of court and had to be considered as a brazen abuse of the right of individual application," the judges decided.

In recent years a number of lawyers have specialised in handling ECHR appeals, including one Italian lawyer working from Strasbourg who ran a lucrative operation representing clients appealing against Italy a decade ago.

But people should not be eyeing the court as place to make some easy money, said ex-ECHR president Jean-Paul Costa.

"(Some) 800 million people in Europe can easily appeal to the court. It is a very attractive system but the result is that people think, mistakenly, that they can just come to the court and win," he said.

ECHR currently has 160,000 appeals pending.

© 2011 AFP

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