Revocation of the license by retroactive application of the new law has led to a violation of the right to property

the European Court of Human Rights held: by four votes to three, that there had been no violation of Article 7 (no punishment without law) of the European Convention on Human Rights, and unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (protection of property) to the European Convention in the case Rola v. Slovenia (application no. 12096/14).

The case concerned a liquidator’s complaint that he had lost his licence to act in bankruptcy proceedings following his conviction for violent behaviour. The applicant argued that at the time he had acquired the licence the law had not provided for revocation if convicted for a criminal offence. The revocation of his licence had been based on new legislation introduced in 2008, so at the time he had committed the criminal offence he could not have foreseen such a sanction and that the new legislation should not have been applied retrospectively.

The Court found that the revocation of Mr Rola’s licence had not amounted to a criminal punishment. Article 7 was therefore not applicable in his case and there had been no violation of that provision. However, the revocation had amounted to an interference with the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions, because he had no longer been allowed to exercise his profession, which was his main source of income. Furthermore, that interference had not been lawful. It had been based on a law which had not been in force at the time Mr Rola had committed the criminal offence and therefore he could not have reasonably foreseen that his conviction would have automatically led to his licence being revoked. Moreover, the law which should have been applied had explicitly provided that such a measure could not be imposed if, as in Mr Rola’s case, the offence had only led to a suspended sentence. 

References from the official website of the European Court of Human Rights