Decided on 16 December 2014

Relevant Articles:   Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (against torture, and "inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment") and Article 8 of the Convention (right to respect for their family life and/or their home)


The Cañada Real Galiana was an ancient and historical livestock trail that crossed Spain from North to South, including Madrid. Since the 1960’s , the area gradually developed into a big settlement with the acquiescence of all public authorities. [1]For almost fifty years no administration had made any effort to stop or reverse the situation. In fact, the administrations had carried out different actions that could be understood as implying acceptance and tolerance of the settlement.[2] The applicants live in 118-F Sector 4 of the Cañada Real Galiana (Madrid) since late 2009. This is their only home. The first and second applicants are 46 and 36 years old, respectively.

On 30 March 2009 the Director General of Execution and Supervision of Building Policies approved a decision of eviction and demolition of the applicants’ home within the period of a month. On 27 July 2012 the Madrid administrative judge no. 10 authorised the entry into the applicants’ home, arguing that, given that the applicants refused to vacate the house, the entry into their home in order to enforce the demolition order was proportionate. On 21 May and 19 July 2012 the first applicant made representations before the judge expressly invoking Article 8 of the Convention. He also referred to the risk of social exclusion faced by his family in case the eviction and demolition of their home took place[3].

On 14 February 2013 the applicants lodged an application with the Court. The applicants complained under Article 3 of the Convention that their eviction amounted to inhuman or degrading treatment. They argued that this was particularly true in relation to their eight-year-old daughter. Invoking Article 8 of the Convention the applicants complained that their eviction from their home after decades of tolerance on the part of the administration towards the construction of houses in the area will amount to a violation of their home and private and family life.

The Madrid city council decided finally not to enforce the demolition and eviction proceedings regarding the affected families during the negotiations. Regional and local administrations have signed the social framework agreement of Cañada Real of 30 April 2014 as foreseen by Law 2/2011. This agreement provides for a negotiation process between stakeholders in order to give a global solution to the social and urban problem. The Court is satisfied that the matter has been resolved within the meaning of Article 37 § 1 (b) of the Convention and that respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and its Protocols does not require it to continue the examination of the application under Article 37 § 1 in fine.


Read the case 3537/13

[1] Current estimations are that population in the area reaches 10,000 people and that more than 2,000 houses have been built on it without any sort of licence. Many of these houses are substandard houses or shelters.

[2] They registered in the land registry some of the plots on the area and collected from their occupants local taxes on real estate. They also awarded compensation to occupants affected by infrastructure works and registered occupants in the local population registry as residents in their addresses in the Cañada Real Galiana.

[3] The first applicant receives insertion benefits (in his capacity as a long-term unemployed person without entitlement to receive further unemployment benefits) to the amount of EUR 426.00 per month and the second applicant receives unemployment benefits to the amount of EUR 426.00 per month. She has also a degree of disability of 10 per cent. Their child is enrolled in a school in the area. They argue that they have repeatedly sought social housing from the regional administration since 2006.


Article 3 - Prohibition of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment
Article 8 - Right to respect for private and family life
EU Housing Rights
Cruel inhuman and degrading treatment
Right to dignity
Youth homelessness
Squats and slums
Human rights
Right to housing
Rights of residents