The applicant, Mr. K., was serving a prison sentence. He complained initially to the Latvian Prison Administration and subsequently to the Administrative court, that the prison administration had not provided him with toiletries. The administrative regional and district courts ruled that there has been a violation of applicant’s rights, but did not find that no monetary compensation was necessary in this case.
The applicant complained that lack of compensation violated his right to an effective remedy and adequate compensation.
The Court stated that in the event of a violation of rights everyone has the right to an appropriate compensation. The compensation must be fair and its amount depends on various factors, including the importance of the protected right, gravity of the violation, the institution’s motivation, victim’s actions and other important factors. The amount of the compensation has to be proportionate to the gravity of the violation, e.g., the more serious the violation, the bigger amount of compensation should be granted. This needs to be taken into account also when choosing the form of the remedy. The Court also emphasized that the amount of compensation must not be manifestly smaller of the amount of compensation determined by the European Court of Human Rights in similar cases.
The Court recognized that written or verbal apology can also be considered as effective remedy for minor violations of person’s rights. However in the particular case the Court ruled that lack of toiletries, as it violated the prohibition of inhuman treatment, cannot be considered a minor violation and cannot be remedied by apology alone. Therefore the Court found that the applicant had not received effective remedy for a violation of his rights and set aside the judgment returning it to a lower court.