CASE OF PÓCZA AND OTHERS v. HUNGARY (European Court of Human Rights) 13353/21

The applicants complained of the excessive length of civil proceedings.


FIRST SECTION
CASE OF PÓCZA AND OTHERS v. HUNGARY
(Application no. 13353/21)
JUDGMENT
STRASBOURG
13 January 2022

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

In the case of Pócza 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 1 March 2021.

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 principally 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. OTHER COMPLAINTS

11. The applicant Ms Ilona Balázsné Pagács also complained that the length of the proceedings in question had been incompatible with the “reasonable time” requirement. However, the Court observes that the same applicant has already made an identical complaint in application no. 390/21. In these circumstances, this complaint does not meet the admissibility criteria set out in Article 35 of the Convention.

It follows that this part of the application must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 § 4 of the Convention.

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, the Court considers it reasonable to award the sums 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 complaint of Ms Ilona Balázsné Pagács inadmissible and the remainder of the application (72 applicants) admissible;

2. Holds that these complaints 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/registration

 

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]

13353/21

01/03/2021

(72 applicants)

Gyula PÓCZA

1928

Janos AUTH

1934

 BAJAI KOMMUNÁLIS KFT.

2009

Éva BALÁZS

1969

Lászlóné BALÁZS

1944

Péter Gyula BALÁZS

1968

Gábor László BÁSTI

1935

István BIHARI

1944

Mihály BODA

1955

Andrásné BODNÁR

1941

Ferencné BUZÁS

1952

László CSIZMADIA

1950

Mónika CSIZMADIA

1971

András EREDICS

1955

Imre ERŐSS

1965

Mária FISCHERNÉ ERŐS

1960

Jenő FORGÓ

1939

László Gyula FRIGY

1967

Miklós GARTNER

1958

Istvánné GYÖRE

1960

Antal HAKLITS

1948

Gábor HAVAS

1953

Róbert István HÉJJA

1966

Dezső HŐBE

1924

János HORVÁTH

1951

Miklós HORVÁTH

1940

Erzsébet Mária KÁNTORNÉ SZABÓ

1955

Artúr KASOVITZ

1924

Lajosné KELEMEN

1964

Eszter KÖRTVÉLYESI

1946

Miklós LACZI

1947

József Istvánné LAJKÓ

1957

Gyula LEGLER

1947

József LEGLER

1957

Sándor Jánosné LEHOCZKI

1930

Éva LESZLAUERNÉ SIKOS

1954

László MAGOSI

1946

Frigyes MORVAY

1936

Károly Ferenc NADRAI

1951

Csaba NAGY

1944

János NAGY

1950

Géza Istvánné PÁLYKA

1937

István Géza PÁLYKA

1960

László Zzoltné PÁVICS

1959

László Gábor PIROSKA

1955

József POZSGAI

1938

Antal Sándor RENDES

1950

Ferenc ROHRBACHER

1966

Gézáné SCHÉDER

1930

Józsefné SEBESTYÉN

1947

László SEFCSIK

1952

Gyula SIKOS

1956

Lajos SÜMEGHI

1950

Miklós SZABÓ

1948

István SZAPPANOS

1939

Csaba SZELTNER

1966

 SZOMBATHELYI COOP ZRT.

2007

László TÓTH

1951

Györgyi Csilla TÖTH

1961

Zoltán ZÁBORSZKY

1952

Bernadett ZÁMBÓNÉ ÁGOSTON

1978

 

Household

Béla GERGELY

1968

Anna GERGELYNÉ PÁPISTA

1968

 

Household

Klára Erzsébet RÁCZ-SZABÓNÉ

1993

Anna Mária SZABÓ

2010

Csaba Zsolt SZABÓ

1994

Gergely András SZABÓ

1997

Mária SZABÓNÉ TAKÁCS

1967

 

Household

Gábor Ernő MIHÁCSI

1951

Gáborné MIHÁCSI

1953

 

Household

Anna KIS

1966

Hanna TICK

1988

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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