The Sentence Execution code provided that only costs of prisoners’ correspondence with courts and international human rights bodies were covered by the state.
The applicant, Mr. Klopcovs, complained that his right to fair trial has been violated, because the law does not provide him with opportunity to send letters to state administrative institutions in context of administrative proceedings for free.
The Court pointed that the state has an obligation to ensure that a prisoner is able to access a court when necessary. This means that the access to court cannot be dependant solely on person’s financial situation. Therefore the obligation to ensure access to court included the state’s duty to cover the costs of correspondence with the court if that was necessary. As for the particular situation the Court noted that before submitting an application to administrative court, the prisoner was obliged to submit an application also to a state institution. If the prisoner himself lacked the financial means to send this application, his access to a court was limited. Therefore where the applicant could not afford to send letters to state institutions, refusal to send them free of charge violated the applicant’s right to a fair trial.