Language of document : ECLI:EU:T:2017:547

Provisional text

ORDER OF THE GENERAL COURT (Sixth Chamber)

19 July 2017(*)

(Procedure — Taxation of costs)

In Case T‑346/14 DEP,

Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych, residing in Kiev (Ukraine), represented by T. Beazley QC,

applicant,

v

Council of the European Union, represented by J.-P. Hix and P. Mahnič Bruni, acting as Agents,

defendant,

supported by

Republic of Poland,

and by

European Commission,

interveners,

APPLICATION for taxation of costs further to the order of 11 March 2015, Yanukovych v Council (T‑346/14, not published, EU:T:2015:731),

THE GENERAL COURT (Sixth Chamber),

composed of G. Berardis (Rapporteur), President, D. Spielmann and Z. Csehi, Judges,

Registrar: E. Coulon,

makes the following

Order

 Facts, procedure and forms of order sought by the parties

1        By application lodged at the Court Registry on 14 May 2014, the applicant, Mr Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych, brought an action seeking the annulment, first, of Council Decision 2014/119/CFSP of 5 March 2014 concerning restrictive measures directed against certain persons, entities and bodies in view of the situation in Ukraine (OJ 2014 L 66, p. 26), and, second, of Council Regulation (EU) No 208/2014 of 5 March 2014 concerning restrictive measures directed against certain persons, entities and bodies in view of the situation in Ukraine (OJ 2014 L 66, p. 1), in so far as those acts concerned the applicant (‘the main proceedings’). By two applications lodged at the Court Registry on the same day and registered under numbers T‑347/14 and T‑348/14 respectively, Mr Viktor Viktorovych Yanukovych and Mr Oleksandr Viktorovych Yanukovych each brought an action seeking annulment of the same acts, in so far as those acts concerned them.

2        By document lodged at the Court Registry on 16 September 2014, Ukraine applied for leave to intervene in support of the form of order sought by the Council of the European Union. An identical application was submitted by Ukraine in the cases of Yanukovych v Council (T‑347/14) and of Yanukovych v Council (T‑348/14).

3        On 21 October 2014, the applicant filed his observations on Ukraine’s application to intervene in the main proceedings.

4        By letter lodged at the Court Registry on 24 December 2014, Ukraine informed the Court that it was withdrawing its application to intervene.

5        On 22 January 2015, the applicant submitted his observations on the withdrawal of Ukraine’s application to intervene in the main proceedings.

6        By order of 11 March 2015, Yanukovych v Council (T‑346/14, not published, EU:T:2015:731) (‘the order for removal from the register’), the President of the Ninth Chamber of the General Court ordered that Ukraine be removed from the register as an applicant for leave to intervene and ordered it, on the basis of Article 87(5) of the Rules of Procedure of the General Court of 2 May 1991, to bear its own costs and to pay the costs incurred by the applicant in connection with the application to intervene. The Council was ordered to bear its own costs relating to the application to intervene.

7        By letter of 25 November 2015, the applicant’s lawyer requested reimbursement from Ukraine of an amount of 57 317.50 pounds sterling (GBP) in respect of the costs relating to Ukraine’s application to intervene. The same amount was requested by the applicant’s lawyer in respect of the costs relating to the applications to intervene submitted by Ukraine in Yanukovych v Council (T‑347/14) and in Yanukovych v Council (T‑348/14).

8        By letter of 18 December 2015, the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice replied to the applicant that Ukraine did not have legal representation and that it would provide a substantive response as soon as it had instructed legal counsel for that purpose, while, moreover, requesting a copy of the order for removal from the register, of which it had not been notified.

9        By letter of 6 January 2016, the applicant’s lawyer disputed Ukraine’s reply and sought reimbursement of the amount claimed, while enclosing a copy of the order for removal from the register with his letter.

10      By letter of 15 January 2016, Ukraine reiterated that it was unable to provide a substantive reply and that it would do so as soon as it had appointed its new lawyer, the mandate of its former representative having expired on 31 December 2014.

11      As no agreement could be reached between the parties on the amount of the recoverable costs, the applicant, by application lodged at the Court Registry on 15 March 2016, submitted the present application for taxation of costs, pursuant to Article 170 of the Rules of Procedure of the General Court.

12      By document lodged at the Registry of the Court of Justice on 2 June 2016, Ukraine lodged an appeal against the order for removal from the register, in which it claimed that the General Court, by ordering it to pay the costs relating to the application to intervene incurred by the applicant, had exceeded its powers and committed procedural errors.

13      By a letter of the same day, Ukraine requested that proceedings in the present case be stayed, on the ground that it had appealed against the order for removal from the register.

14      On 4 July 2016, the President of the Ninth Chamber of the General Court decided not to accede to the request submitted by Ukraine for a stay of proceedings.

15      By document lodged at the Court Registry on 11 July 2016, Ukraine submitted its observations on the application for taxation of costs, reiterating, first and foremost, its request that the proceedings be stayed in the present case.

16      By order of 5 October 2016, Ukraine v Yanukovych (C‑317/16 P, not published, EU:C:2016:744), the Court of Justice dismissed the appeal against the order for removal from the register due to a manifest lack of jurisdiction, since, by its appeal, Ukraine had merely challenged the costs imposed on it by that order.

17      The applicant submits that the Court should order Ukraine to pay to him, within 28 days of the date of the order, the sum of GBP 64 402.50 or any sum that the Court considers appropriate, corresponding to 87.30 hours of work, including the costs incurred for the purposes of the present proceedings, increased by interest for late payment, at the rate applied by the European Central Bank (ECB) to its principal refinancing operations, namely 0.05%, increased by 3.5%, as from the date of notification of the order relating to the present application until the date of actual payment. The applicant submits that the costs claimed represent approximately one third of the costs incurred overall in the present case and in those of Yanukovych v Council (T‑347/14) and Yanukovych v Council (T‑348/14).

18      Ukraine contends, in essence, that the Court should (i) rule that it does not have jurisdiction to tax the costs and to order Ukraine to pay any sum to the applicant, on account of its immunity from jurisdiction as a sovereign State, (ii) in the alternative, find that taxing costs and requiring Ukraine to pay any sum of money to the applicant would be inconsistent with the restrictive measures imposed by the European Union in view of the situation in Ukraine, and (iii) rule that the costs claimed are not recoverable, by setting their amount at zero.

 Law

19      In its observations on the present application for taxation of costs, Ukraine submits, principally, that the application for taxation of costs should be rejected by disputing the jurisdiction of the Court to rule on that application and, more generally, to order it to pay a sum of money to the applicant, by reason of the immunity from jurisdiction which it enjoys. In the alternative, Ukraine maintains, furthermore, that ordering it to pay any sum of money to the applicant would require it to circumvent the restrictive measures imposed by the European Union to protect Ukraine. Finally, in the further alternative, it maintains that the costs claimed are not recoverable and that their amount must be set at zero. Although the only head of claim relevant in the context of the present application for taxation of costs appears to be that relating to setting the recoverable costs at zero, the Court nevertheless considers that it is appropriate, before examining whether that application is well founded, to rule on the first two heads of claim raised by Ukraine.

 Ukraine’s claims based on immunity from jurisdiction

20      Ukraine disputes the jurisdiction of the Court to tax costs concerning it and to order it to pay a sum of money to the applicant, on the basis of an alleged rule of customary international law which it claims is enshrined, first, in Article 8(2)(b) of the United Nations Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and their Property, adopted on 2 December 2004 by the United Nations General Assembly and opened for signature by the States on 17 January 2005 (‘the United Nations Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States’) and, secondly, in Article 13 of the European Convention on State Immunity, drawn up within the Council of Europe and opened to signature by the States in Basle (Switzerland) on 16 May 1972 (‘the European Convention on State Immunity’). Ukraine adds that that alleged rule binds the Court to the extent that principles of international law are binding on the institutions of the European Union and form part of its legal order. Under that rule, where, as in the present case, a State intervenes in proceedings before a court of another State for the sole purpose of ‘asserting a right or interest in property at issue in the proceedings’, it does not give up the immunity from jurisdiction enjoyed by sovereign States.

21      It should be noted that the rule that a State may not be sued in the courts of another sovereign entity is a well-established rule of public international law. In that regard, it should be noted that it follows from settled case-law that the European Union must respect international law in the exercise of its powers and that the European Union is bound to observe international law in its entirety, including customary international law (see, to that effect, judgment of 24 November 1992, Poulsen and Diva Navigation, C‑286/90, EU:C:1992:453, paragraphs 9 and 10). More particularly, according to the case-law, under the generally accepted principles of international law concerning immunity from jurisdiction, a State cannot be sued before the court of another State. Such immunity of States from jurisdiction is enshrined in international law and is based on the principle par in parem non habet imperium, as a State cannot be subjected to the jurisdiction of another State (judgment of 19 July 2012, Mahamdia, C‑154/11, EU:C:2012:491, paragraph 54).

22      In the present state of international law, that immunity is not absolute. It is generally recognised in the case where the dispute concerns sovereign acts performed iure imperii. It may, by contrast, be excluded if the legal proceedings relate to acts performed iure gestionis which do not come within the exercise of public powers (judgment of 19 July 2012, Mahamdia, C‑154/11, EU:C:2012:491, paragraph 55).

23      Even if, as Ukraine maintains, the rule that, when a State intervenes, under certain circumstances, in judicial proceedings before a court of another State, it is deemed not to have waived its immunity from jurisdiction may be considered a rule of customary international law applicable, by analogy, in the present case, it should be noted that it is irrelevant.

24      First of all, it must be observed that taxation of costs is the subject of a procedure governed by the provisions of Article 170 of the Rules of Procedure, which is separate from the decision as to costs referred to in Article 133 of those rules. Accordingly, taxation of costs may take place only after the judgment or order which closes the proceedings (see, to that effect, order of 6 September 2016, Vanbreda Risk & Benefits v Commission, T‑199/14, not published, EU:T:2016:532, paragraph 16 and the case-law cited).

25      Furthermore, it should be noted that, in the order for removal from the register, which now has the force of res judicata, following the dismissal of the appeal by order of 5 October 2016, Ukraine v Yanukovych (C‑317/16 P, not published, EU:C:2016:744), the Court, taking note of the withdrawal of Ukraine’s application to intervene, ordered that Ukraine be removed from the register as an applicant for leave to intervene and, on the basis of Article 87(5) of the Rules of Procedure of 2 May 1991 concerning costs in the event of discontinuance or withdrawal, that it bear its own costs and pay those incurred by the applicant in connection with the application to intervene.

26      It is also necessary to note, first, that Ukraine applied for leave to intervene in the main proceedings without entering a reservation, in its application to intervene, on the subject of its alleged immunity from jurisdiction and, secondly, that, despite the clear wording of Article 87(5) of the Rules of Procedure of 2 May 1991, which it could not have failed to be aware was applicable by analogy in the present case, it also did not invoke such immunity or apply for costs in the letter by which it informed the Court that it was withdrawing its application to intervene (order for removal from the register, EU:T:2015:731, paragraph 2).

27      While it is true, as Ukraine submits, that, by virtue of Article 8(2)(b) of the United Nations Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and of Article 13 of the European Convention on State Immunity, when a State intervenes, under certain circumstances, in court proceedings, it is deemed not to have waived its immunity from jurisdiction, it is also true that that rule is applicable only when that State intervenes ‘merely in order to assert a right or interest in the property at issue in the [judicial] proceedings’ or when it asserts ‘that it has a right or interest in property which is the subject matter of the proceedings’ (see paragraph 20 above).

28      This is therefore a rule which derogates from the general rule, under which the participation of a State in proceedings before a court of another State involves, in principle, a waiver of immunity from jurisdiction if the State itself instituted the proceedings or intervened with regard to the merits (see, in that regard, Article 8(1) of the United Nations Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and Article 1(1) of the European Convention on State Immunity). In essence, that derogation, which is, as such, to be applied strictly, is intended to enable the State concerned to protect its interests as a sovereign State with regard to property when those interests have been called into question in the context of judicial proceedings between third parties in another State, without its having to lose its immunity from jurisdiction.

29      In the present case, it must be held that, first, as noted in paragraph 26 above, Ukraine did not invoke immunity from jurisdiction in its application to intervene in the main proceedings and, secondly, the subject matter of the main proceedings was not property in respect of which Ukraine claimed a right or interest. Contrary to what Ukraine maintains, the main proceedings did not concern an application to seize property belonging to or controlled by it, but rather concerned the validity of restrictive measures imposed by the Council in the form of individual penalties having the effect of freezing the applicant’s funds. Furthermore, even supposing that there is a link between the main proceedings and property belonging to Ukraine, in so far as, as Ukraine claims, it intervened in the main proceedings with a view to asserting its right or interest in regard to the applicant’s assets, which had been frozen following the misappropriation of funds by the applicant, it must be noted that that link is merely indirect and, accordingly, cannot be relied upon in support of immunity from jurisdiction as claimed by Ukraine.

30      Moreover, it should also be noted that, in so far as Ukraine applied for leave to intervene in support of the validity of the restrictive measures adopted by the Council with regard to the applicant, its application concerned intervention on the substance of the main proceedings, which corresponds precisely to the situation in which the general rule on immunity applies and not the derogation therefrom (see paragraph 28 above).

31      Given that the derogation in question could not be applied in the context of the main proceedings and that the present taxation of costs proceedings are merely ancillary to the proceedings relating to Ukraine’s application to intervene, in which Ukraine was ordered to pay the costs, the claims concerning immunity from jurisdiction must be rejected.

 Ukraine’s claims based, in essence, on the alleged infringement of the restrictive measures adopted with regard to the applicant

32      With regard to Ukraine’s request that the Court should abstain from taxing the costs, since ordering it to pay a sum of money to the applicant would require it, in essence, to circumvent the restrictive measures imposed by the European Union to protect Ukraine, it should be noted that, first, under Article 4(1)(b) of Regulation No 208/2014, the competent authorities may authorise the release or the making available of certain frozen funds or economic resources, after having determined that the funds or economic resources concerned are ‘intended exclusively for payment of reasonable professional fees and reimbursement of incurred expenses associated with the provision of legal services’ (see, to that effect and by analogy, judgment of 12 June 2014, Peftiev and Others, C‑314/13, EU:C:2014:1645, paragraphs 30 and 32). Secondly, it should also be noted that, under Article 1(6)(c) of Decision 2014/119, the rule that no funds or economic resources are to be, directly or indirectly, made available to a listed natural or legal person is not to apply to the addition to frozen accounts of payments due under, inter alia, judicial decisions delivered in the European Union, provided that those payments are frozen. Article 7(2)(c) of Regulation No 208/2014 contains an identical provision. It therefore follows from those provisions that payments due in respect of recoverable costs following judicial proceedings, such as those arising from taxation of costs proceedings as in the present case, are not precluded from being made to the accounts of persons whose funds have been frozen.

33      Accordingly, contrary to what Ukraine submits, payment by Ukraine of a sum of money to the applicant following the present taxation of costs proceedings would not require it to circumvent the restrictive measures adopted with regard to the applicant.

34      In any event, it should also be noted that this claim put forward by Ukraine seeks, in essence, exoneration from the costs imposed on it by the order for removal from the register and thus relates to the very principle of liability for costs, decided in the order for removal from the register, which, moreover, as noted in paragraph 25 above, now has the force of res judicata.

35      In the light of all of the foregoing, the claims based, in essence, on the alleged infringement of the restrictive measures adopted with regard to the applicant must also be rejected.

 The application for taxation of costs

36      As provided for in Article 170(3) of the Rules of Procedure, if there is a dispute concerning the costs to be recovered, the General Court, after hearing the observations of the other party, is to give its decision on the application of the party concerned by way of an order from which no appeal may lie.

37      According to Article 140(b) of the Rules of Procedure, expenses necessarily incurred by the parties for the purpose of the proceedings, in particular the travel and subsistence expenses and the remuneration of agents, advisers or lawyers, are to be regarded as recoverable costs.

38      It is thus apparent from the wording of that provision that the remuneration of a lawyer is one of the expenses necessarily incurred within the meaning of that provision (see, to that effect, order of 15 October 2015, Council v Ningbo Yonghong Fasteners, C‑601/12 P‑DEP, not published, EU:C:2015:726, paragraph 12). It also follows from that provision that recoverable costs are limited, first, to those incurred for the purposes of the proceedings before the Court and, second, to those which were necessary for those purposes (see order of 21 January 2015, Iranian Offshore Engineering & Construction v Council, T‑110/12 DEP, not published, EU:T:2015:61, paragraph 11 and the case-law cited).

39      With regard to lawyers’ fees, it should be observed that, according to a consistent line of case-law, the Courts of the European Union are not empowered to tax the fees payable by the parties to their own lawyers, but may determine the amount of those fees which may be recovered from the party ordered to pay the costs. When ruling on an application for taxation of costs, the Court is not obliged to take account of any national scale of lawyers’ fees or any agreement in that regard between the party concerned and his advisers (see order of 21 January 2015, Iranian Offshore Engineering & Construction v Council, T‑110/12 DEP, not published, EU:T:2015:61, paragraph 12 and the case-law cited).

40      It has also consistently been held that, in the absence of provisions laying down fee-scales, the Court must make an unfettered assessment of the facts of the case, taking into account the purpose and nature of the proceedings, their significance from the point of view of EU law as well as the difficulties presented by the case, the amount of work generated by the proceedings for the agents or advisers involved and the financial interests which the parties had in the proceedings (see order of 21 January 2015, Iranian Offshore Engineering & Construction v Council, T‑110/12 DEP, not published, EU:T:2015:61, paragraph 13 and the case-law cited).

41      In fixing recoverable costs, the Court takes account of all the circumstances of the case up to the signing of the order on taxation of costs, including expenses necessarily incurred in relation to the taxation of costs proceedings (see order of 29 November 2016, TrekStor v EUIPO, T‑105/14 DEP, not published, EU:T:2016:716, paragraph 10 and the case-law cited).

42      It is in the light of those considerations that the Court must assess the amount of the recoverable costs in the present case.

 Lawyers’ fees

43      In the first place, as regards the subject matter and nature of the dispute and the difficulties of the case, it must be observed, first of all, that the costs claimed relate to the stage of the procedure preceding the decision on the application to intervene, during which, in accordance with Article 116(1) and (2) of the Rules of Procedure of 2 May 1991, in force at the time of Ukraine’s application to intervene in the main proceedings, now, essentially, Article 144(1) and (2) of the Rules of Procedure, the application to intervene is to be served on the parties and the President is to provide them with an opportunity to submit their written or oral observations on that application and to request, if necessary, that certain confidential information in the case file should not be communicated to an intervener.

44      While it cannot be denied that, in principle, cases relating to the freezing of funds raise sensitive political issues, it must, however, be observed that, in the present case, the dispute underlying the present application for taxation of costs merely related to whether or not Ukraine had the right to intervene in support of the form of order sought by the Council. In that regard, it follows from the case-law that, in the specific context of taxation of costs of intervening parties, it is necessary to take into account the fact that an intervention is, by its nature, subordinate to the main action and cannot therefore present as many difficulties as that action, save in exceptional cases (see order of 18 April 2006, Euroalliages and Others v Commission, T‑132/01 DEP, not published, EU:T:2006:112, paragraph 32 and the case-law cited). This is particularly true where, as in the present case, the proceedings are at an early stage, before leave to intervene has been granted, and involve merely a decision on the application to intervene, and, if necessary, on confidentiality in respect of the applicant for leave to intervene with regard to certain information in the file. If account is taken of those circumstances, the case was not particularly complex, either in law or in fact.

45      In that regard, it should also be stated that, contrary to what the applicant claims, the fact that the present case concerned an application to intervene by a third State was not a complex and unusual issue, or even a new one, from the point of view of EU law. Under the second paragraph of Article 40 of the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union, a third State is entitled to be a party to proceedings in the same way as legal persons under that provision. Moreover, it must also be noted that a third State has been granted leave to intervene on several occasions by the Courts of the European Union, including in the field of the common foreign and security policy (see, to that effect, orders of 23 February 1983, Chris International Foods v Commission, 91/82 and 200/82, EU:C:1983:45, and of 4 June 2012, Attey and Others v Council, T‑118/11, T‑123/11 and T‑124/11, not published, EU:T:2012:270, paragraph 14).

46      In the second place, with regard to the economic interests at stake, the applicant claims that the inclusion of his name on the list of persons subject to the freezing of funds under challenge in the main proceedings had significant economic and financial consequences for him, including with regard to his reputation. Although a freezing of funds measure is a temporary precautionary measure which, unlike confiscation, does not affect the very substance of the right of the person concerned to property in his financial assets but only the use thereof, it must be conceded that such a measure is liable to hinder considerably the business activities carried out by the applicant (see, to that effect, order of 20 November 2012, Al Shanfari v Council and Commission, T‑121/09 DEP, not published, EU:T:2012:607, paragraph 20 and the case-law cited). In the present case, however, it must be noted that the present application for taxation of costs concerns only the costs relating to Ukraine’s application to intervene in the main proceedings. Indeed, the applicant did not submit any evidence to the Court indicating that Ukraine’s intervention in the main proceedings would have been capable of harming his financial interests or damaging his reputation, even if that could be taken into consideration in this context. It follows that the applicant’s economic interests at stake in the dispute which gave rise to the present case were not particularly significant.

47      In the third place, as regards the amount of work generated by the procedural issue consisting of Ukraine’s application to intervene, followed by its withdrawal, for the applicant’s lawyers, it is necessary to assess, first, the matter of the number of working hours to be taken into consideration. It is apparent from the application for taxation of costs that the main work was carried out by a senior partner of a large firm of solicitors. Within that firm, that senior partner was assisted by several colleagues — one solicitor, a barrister and a leading counsel, as well as by legal assistants — who, however, worked on the file to a lesser degree than the senior partner.

48      In this regard, it must be borne in mind that, while in the present case it was permissible for the applicant to entrust the defence of his interests to a number of lawyers, the primary consideration of the Courts of the European Union is the total number of hours of work which may appear to be objectively necessary for the purpose of the proceedings before the Court, irrespective of the number of lawyers who may have provided the services in question (see, to that effect, order of 20 November 2012, Al Shanfari v Council and Commission, T‑121/09 DEP, not published, EU:T:2012:607, paragraph 25 and the case-law cited).

49      Furthermore, it follows from the case-law that where a party decides to be represented by both a solicitor and a barrister, it does not follow that the fees due to each of them are not to be regarded as costs necessarily incurred for the purpose of the proceedings, as provided for in Article 140(b) of the Rules of Procedure. In order to tax costs in those circumstances, the Court must examine the extent to which the services supplied by all the advisers concerned were necessary and it must satisfy itself that the fact that both categories of lawyers were instructed did not give rise to any unnecessary duplication of costs (see, to that effect, order of 20 November 2012, Al Shanfari v Council and Commission, T‑121/09 DEP, not published, EU:T:2012:607, paragraph 26 and the case-law cited).

50      First, it follows from the lawyers’ fee note annexed to the application for taxation of costs that the distribution of the work between lawyers from the firm in question was bound to mean duplication of the work carried out, which must be taken into account for the purposes of calculating the amount of the recoverable costs. The applicant, moreover, does not rebut that finding, inasmuch as he does not put forward any arguments tending to show that it was appropriate to share the work among the various lawyers (see, to that effect, order of 20 November 2012, Al Shanfari v Council and Commission, T‑121/09 DEP, not published, EU:T:2012:607, paragraph 27 and the case-law cited).

51      Secondly, as Ukraine correctly maintains, it is apparent from the case file that the observations submitted by the applicant’s lawyers in the present case were, in substance, identical to those submitted by the same lawyers in the cases of Yanukovych v Council (T‑347/14) and of Yanukovych v Council (T‑348/14), which indicates not only that the work of those lawyers was made easier, but also that the time which had to be spent on the various files was able to be reduced significantly.

52      Thirdly, it should be noted that the tasks carried out by the leading counsel, solicitor, barrister and legal assistants who worked on the main case at the law firm in question do not appear to have been objectively necessary for the purposes of the proceedings relating to Ukraine’s application to intervene.

53      Fourthly, the lawyers’ fee note submitted shows a certain number of hours spent in coordinating the work of the applicant’s various lawyers. According to well-established case-law, however, the costs of coordination cannot be regarded as necessary costs (see order of 20 November 2012, Al Shanfari v Council and Commission, T‑121/09 DEP, not published, EU:T:2012:607, paragraph 30 and the case-law cited).

54      Fifthly, the applicant claims that the number of hours of work spent by the senior partner and the leading counsel in connection with the proceedings relating to Ukraine’s application to intervene comes to 18.5 and 11.3 hours respectively, while the cumulative working time of other employees of the law firm in question comes to 39.6 hours. In total, the number of hours spent by various members of the law firm working in connection with the proceedings relating to Ukraine’s application to intervene is approximately 69.4 hours.

55      Having regard to the purpose and nature of the proceedings and the content of the procedural documents lodged by the applicant, namely, first, nine pages of observations on Ukraine’s application to intervene and, secondly, a two-page letter setting out his position on the withdrawal of that application, the Court considers that the number of hours indicated by the applicant exceeds very significantly what may be regarded as necessary for the purpose of the proceedings before the Court. That is particularly true in so far as that number of hours, as the applicant himself notes (see paragraph 17 above), represents approximately one third of the time spent by the applicant’s lawyers in the context of the present case, of that in Yanukovych v Council (T‑347/14) and of that in Yanukovych v Council (T‑348/14).

56      Furthermore, with more particular regard to the determination of an appropriate hourly rate, the hourly remuneration which the applicant seeks to have applied ranges between GBP 150 and GBP 1 500 so far as concerns the work carried out by the various members of the law firm in question. That second amount corresponds to the hourly rate billed by the senior partner who spent the most time working in connection with the proceedings relating to Ukraine’s application to intervene and by the leading counsel.

57      The Court considers that, in the present case, those rates appear excessive and points out that, according to settled case-law, even a lower rate, of around GBP 250 per hour, can be regarded as appropriate only as remuneration for the services of a particularly experienced professional, who is capable of working very efficiently and rapidly. In order for remuneration at such a rate to be taken into account there must, moreover, in return be an assessment, which must be strict, of the total number of hours of work necessary for the purposes of the proceedings before the Court (see, to that effect, order of 20 November 2012, Al Shanfari v Council and Commission, T‑121/09 DEP, not published, EU:T:2012:607, paragraph 40 and the case-law cited).

58      Having regard to all of the foregoing, it is necessary to take the view, for the purposes of calculating the fees necessarily incurred by the applicant for the purpose of the proceedings relating to Ukraine’s application to intervene in the main proceedings, given, moreover, the fact that an identical number of hours was calculated by the applicant’s lawyers in the context of the applications for taxation of costs in Yanukovych v Council, registered under case number T‑347/14 DEP, and in Yanukovych v Council, registered under case number T‑348/14 DEP, that those proceedings objectively required 10 hours of work, the remuneration for which, at an hourly rate of GBP 250 which the Court considers to be appropriate in the present case, must be assessed at GBP 2 500.

 Costs incurred in connection with the taxation of costs proceedings

59      The applicant claims that the Court should set the amount of costs relating to the present proceedings for taxation of costs at GBP 10 115, corresponding to 17.9 hours of work at the average hourly rate applied by the applicant’s various lawyers, namely GBP 565.08, that rate being based on the division of the total amount of costs by the total number of ostensible working hours indicated in the lawyers’ fee note.

60      The Court considers, first, that the number of working hours ostensibly spent on the present proceedings for taxation of costs is excessive and cannot, overall, constitute expenses necessarily incurred within the meaning of Article 140(b) of the Rules of Procedure, given, moreover, the fact that an identical number of hours was calculated by the applicant’s lawyers in the context of the applications for taxation of costs in Yanukovych v Council (T‑347/14 DEP) and Yanukovych v Council (T‑348/14 DEP), which are, essentially, identical to the present application. Secondly, the Court considers the average hourly rate of GBP 565.08 to be excessive and, accordingly, takes the view that the sum of GBP 10 115 applied for in the present proceedings for taxation of costs is disproportionate.

61      Consequently, it is appropriate to set the amount of costs relating to the present proceedings for taxation of costs at GBP 1 000, which corresponds to four hours of work at an hourly rate of GBP 250.

62      Taking into account all of the foregoing considerations, the entirety of the costs recoverable by the applicant will be fairly assessed by taxing their amount at GBP 3 500, which takes account of all the circumstances of the case up to the date of the present order.

 Default interest

63      The applicant requests that default interest be added to the amount of recoverable costs with effect from the date of notification of the present order until the date of actual payment of those costs.

64      In that regard, it should be recalled that it is within the Court’s powers pursuant to Article 170(1) and (3) of the Rules of Procedure to find, where appropriate, that there is an obligation to pay default interest and to set an applicable rate (see order of 15 December 2016, Marcuccio v Commission, T‑229/13 P‑DEP, not published, EU:T:2016:755, paragraph 31 and the case-law cited).

65      According to well-established case-law, an application made in the course of proceedings for taxation of costs for default interest to be added to the amount due must be allowed for the period between the date of notification of the order of taxation of costs and the date of actual recovery of the costs (see order of 27 April 2016, Marcuccio v Commission, T‑385/13 P‑DEP, not published, EU:T:2016:275, paragraph 32 and the case-law cited).

66      With regard to the applicable rate of interest, the Court considers it appropriate to take account of Article 83(2)(b) of Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1268/2012 of 29 October 2012 on the rules of application of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union (OJ 2012 L 362, p. 1). Consequently, the applicable interest rate is to be calculated on the basis of the rate applied by the ECB to its principal refinancing operations as published in the Official Journal of the European Union, Series C, in force on the first calendar day of the month in which the deadline for payment falls, increased by three and a half percentage points (see, to that effect, order of 27 April 2016, Marcuccio v Commission, T‑385/13 P‑DEP, not published, EU:T:2016:275, paragraph 33 and the case-law cited).

67      It follows from all of the foregoing that the total amount of costs recoverable by the applicant from Ukraine in Case T‑346/14 is GBP 3 500, increased by default interest with effect from the date of notification of the present order.

On those grounds,

THE GENERAL COURT (Sixth Chamber)

hereby orders:

1)      The total amount of the costs to be reimbursed by Ukraine to Mr Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych is fixed at the amount of 3 500 pounds sterling.


2)      Late payment interest shall be due on that amount from the date of notification of the present order until the date of payment of the total amount due, calculated at the rate applied by the European Central Bank for its principal refinancing operations and in force on the first calendar day of the month in which the deadline for payment falls, increased by three and a half percentage points.

Luxembourg, 19 July 2017.

E. Coulon

 

      G. Berardis

Registrar

 

      President


* Language of the case: English.