CASE OF RONTÓNÉ SZÉP AND OTHERS v. HUNGARY (European Court of Human Rights) 390/21

The applicants complained of the excessive length of civil proceedings.


FIRST SECTION
CASE OF RONTÓNÉ SZÉP AND OTHERS v. HUNGARY
(Application no. 390/21)
JUDGMENT
STRASBOURG
13 January 2022

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

In the case of Rontóné Szép and Others 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 9 December 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 5 December 2020.

2. The applicants were represented by Mr I. Barbalics, a lawyer practising in Budapest.

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

THE FACTS

4. The list of applicants and the relevant details of the application are set out in the appended table.

5. The applicants complained of the excessive length of civil proceedings.

THE LAW

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

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

Article 6 § 1

“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations … 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 applicants and the relevant authorities and what was at stake for the applicants in the dispute (see Frydlender v. France [GC], no. 30979/96, § 43, ECHR 2000-VII).

8. In the leading case of Gazsó v. Hungary, no. 48322/12, 16 July 2015, 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. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION

11. 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.”

12. Regard being had to the documents in its possession and to its case‑law, the Court considers it reasonable to award the sums indicated in the appended table.

13. 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 disclose a breach of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention concerning the excessive length of civil proceedings;

3. Holds

(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicants, 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 13 January 2022, 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 civil 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

Amount awarded for pecuniary and non‑pecuniary damage and costs and expenses per

applicant /household

(in euros)[1]

390/21

05/12/2020

(75 applicants)

Ágnes RONTÓNÉ SZÉP

1952

Lászlóné BAJI

1940

Ilona BALÁZSNÉ PAGÁCS

1949

Géza Károly BIEDER

1950

Lajosné BOROS

1959

József BRETUS

1944

József BUKTA

1942

Magdolna CSAPLÁR

1944

István CSŐVÁRI

1954

Pálné CZICZKA

1954

Katalin DANKÁNÉ LENTE

1955

Gézáné DÉNES

1948

Rezső DÉNES

1954

Vince DÉNES

1962

András DURST

1958

Józsefné EGRI

1952

Gergely FAHIDI

1962

Vilmos FARKAS

1934

Péter GESZTESI-GROSS

1960

László GÖNDÖR

1941

Jenő GYŐRFI

1946

András HÓDOS

1951

Ferenc HUSZÁR

1941

László IVÁNYI

1945

Ágnes KÁLDY-NAGY

1956

János KALUHA

1950

Jánosné KASTÉLY

1926

Ramóna KAZINCZKI

1976

József KENESEI

1964

Antal KEREKES

1939

János KIS

1951

Lajosné KISS

1935

József KOMPANIK

1945

István József KOPIK

1944

Géza KORMOS

1959

Józsefné KOVÁCS

1931

Ottóné KOVÁCS

1933

Marianna Ilona KUNYIKNÉ JÁRÓ

1955

József KURUSA

1939

József LAJKÓ

1950

Ádám LÁNG

1954

Albert LOVAS

1949

Miklós LUKÁCS

1949

Tiborné MARKOS

1949

Klára MÁTÉ

1968

Sándor MIHICS

1956

István MIKÓ

1968

Ferenc MÓZER

1942

Ferenc NAGY

1949

Sándor NEMES

1962

Károlyné NÉMETH

1953

István PALKOVICS

1956

Jánosné PÉK

1941

 

Ferenc PÉLI

1959

Ferencné PETHŐ

1956

Ferenc PSZOTA

1955

Imréné RÁBA

1938

Sándorné ROHOSKA

1948

Sándor István RUTTKAI

1947

László STARK

1942

Sándorné SZABÓ

1948

József SZÉP

1953

Julianna SZIRÁKINÉ SZÉP

1952

Gizella SZŐKE

1957

Lászlóné TIHANYI

1942

László TÓTH

1946

János UNYI

1951

 

Household

Zoltán GÁL

1942

Zoltánné GÁL

1949

 

Household

Ferenc RÉVAI

1952

Ferencné RÉVAI

1952

 

Household

József LÖFFER

1933

Veronika LÖFFER

1937

 

Household

Erika NÉMETH

1961

Piroska NÉMETH

1967

Barbalics István

Budapest

05/11/1992

 

pending

 

More than 29 year(s) and 5 day(s)

2 level(s) of jurisdiction

 

9,100

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

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