CASE OF SZŐLŐSI v. HUNGARY (European Court of Human Rights) Application no. 46382/20

FIRST SECTION
CASE OF SZŐLŐSI v. HUNGARY
(Application no. 46382/20)
JUDGMENT
STRASBOURG
22 July 2021

This judgment is final but it may be subject to editorial revision.

In the case of Szőlősi v. Hungary,

The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting as a Committee composed of:

Erik Wennerström, President,
Lorraine Schembri Orland,
Ioannis Ktistakis, judges,
and Attila Teplán, Acting Deputy Section Registrar,

Having deliberated in private on 1 July 2021,

Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:

PROCEDURE

1. The case originated in an application against Hungary lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) on 12 October 2020.

2. The applicant was represented by Mr D.A. Karsai, a lawyer practising in Budapest.

3. The Hungarian Government (“the Government”) were given notice of the application.

THE FACTS

4. The applicant’s details and information relevant to the application are set out in the appended table.

5. The applicant complained of the excessive length of criminal proceedings. The applicant also raised other complaints under the provisions of the Convention.

THE LAW

I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION

6. The applicant complained principally that the length of the criminal proceedings in question had been incompatible with the “reasonable time” requirement. He relied on Article 6 § 1 of the Convention, which reads as follows:

Article 6 § 1

“In the determination of … any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a … hearing within a reasonable time by [a] … tribunal …”

7. The Court reiterates that the reasonableness of the length of proceedings must be assessed in the light of the circumstances of the case and with reference to the following criteria: the complexity of the case, the conduct of the applicant and the relevant authorities and what was at stake for the applicant in the dispute (see, among many other authorities, Pélissier and Sassi v. France [GC], no. 25444/94, § 67, ECHR 1999‑II, and Frydlender v. France [GC], no. 30979/96, § 43, ECHR 2000‑VII).

8. In the leading case of Barta and Drajkó v. Hungary, no. 35729/12, 17 December 2013 the Court already found a violation in respect of issues similar to those in the present case.

9. Having examined all the material submitted to it, the Court has not found any fact or argument capable of justifying the overall length of the proceedings at the national level. Having regard to its case-law on the subject, the Court considers that in the instant case the length of the proceedings was excessive and failed to meet the “reasonable time” requirement.

10. These complaints are therefore admissible and disclose a breach of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.

II. OTHER ALLEGED VIOLATIONS UNDER WELL-ESTABLISHED CASE-LAW

11. The applicant submitted other complaints which also raised issues under Article 13 of the Convention, given the relevant well-established case-law of the Court (see appended table). These complaints are not manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 (a) of the Convention, nor are they inadmissible on any other ground. Accordingly, they must be declared admissible. Having examined all the material before it, the Court concludes that it also discloses a violation of the Convention in the light of its findings in Barta and Drajkó (cited above, §§ 25-26).

III. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION

12. Article 41 of the Convention provides:

“If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party concerned allows only partial reparation to be made, the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.”

13. Regard being had to the documents in its possession and to its case‑law (see, in particular, Barta and Drajkó, cited above), the Court finds it reasonable to award the sum indicated in the appended table.

14. The Court considers it appropriate that the default interest rate should be based on the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank, to which should be added three percentage points.

FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT, UNANIMOUSLY,

1. Declares the application admissible;

2. Holds that this application discloses a breach of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention concerning the excessive length of criminal proceedings;

3. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 13 of the Convention as regards the other complaints raised under well-established case-law of the Court (see appended table);

4. Holds

(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicant, within three months, the amount indicated in the appended table, to be converted into the currency of the respondent State at the rate applicable at the date of settlement;

(b) that from the expiry of the above-mentioned three months until settlement simple interest shall be payable on the above amount at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points.

Done in English, and notified in writing on 22 July 2021, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.

Attila Teplán                                             Erik Wennerström
Acting Deputy Registrar                                 President

_________

APPENDIX
Application raising complaints under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention
(excessive length of criminal proceedings)

Application no.

Date of introduction

Applicant’s name

Year of birth

 

Representative’s name and location Start of proceedings End of proceedings Total length

Levels of jurisdiction

Other complaints under well-established case-law Amount awarded for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage and costs and expenses per applicant

(in euros)[1]

46382/20

12/10/2020

László SZŐLŐSI

1974

Karsai Dániel András

Budapest

21/10/2014 pending More than 6 year(s) and

6 month(s) and 13 day(s)

2 level(s) of jurisdiction

 

Art. 13 – lack of any effective remedy in domestic law in respect of excessive length of criminal proceedings 3,900

[1] Plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicant.

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