European Court of Human Rights: review of the judgment of 9 January 2018 (Third Section) in the case of López Ribalda and Others v. Spain (applications nos. 1874/13, 8567/13)

Available in Russian

Author: Zhargal Budaev

DOI: 10.21128/2226-2059-2018-2-3-7

Keywords: collection of information; hidden surveillance; positive obligations of the state; reasonable expectation of respect for private life; right to respect for private life; supervision at the workplace; the right to a fair trial; use of evidence obtained in violation of the Convention


In the judgment in the case of López Ribalda v. Spain, the Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights considered a situation concerning (1) the covert video surveillance of a Spanish supermarket’s employees at their workplace in connection with suspicions of theft and (2) the use of the video material obtained during the proceedings. The applicants claimed these actions constituted a violation of their right to respect for private life and the right to a fair trial. The Chamber found that the covert video surveillance without prior notification had led to a violation of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Arguments on the proportionality of this measure with the legitimate aim of protecting the employer’s interest in the protection of his property rights were dismissed as these rights could have been safeguarded by other less strict means. Thus, the domestic courts failed to strike a fair balance between the rights involved. However, in spite of the fact that the video material had been obtained in violation of the Convention, the Chamber, following previously established case law, ruled that this does not necessarily mean that the proceedings as a whole were unfair. The Chamber stated that it is relevant to examine whether there were opportunities to challenge the use of the evidence in the proceedings, as well as if it was the only evidence the domestic courts relied on. Finally, the applicants complained about the use of the agreement by the domestic courts according to which they waived their right to bring proceedings against the employer. However, the Chamber, having considered the assessment of this point given by the domestic courts, did not find any reasons to challenge it.

Citation: (2018) Evropeyskiy Sud po pravam cheloveka: obzor postanovleniya ot 9 yanvarya 2018 goda (Sektsiya III) po delu Lopez Ribal’da i drugie protiv Ispanii(zhaloby no.1874/13, 8567/13) [European Court of Human Rights: review of the judgment of 9 January 2018 (Third Section) in the case of López Ribalda and Others v. Spain (applications nos.1874/13, 8567/13)]. Mezhdunarodnoe pravosudie, vol.8, no.2, pp.3–7. (In Russian).