The applicants complained of the excessive length of civil proceedings.
CASE OF PÓCZA AND OTHERS v. HUNGARY
(Application no. 13353/21)
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:
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.
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.
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;
(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
Application raising complaints under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention
(excessive length of civil proceedings)
Date of introduction
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
BAJAI KOMMUNÁLIS KFT.
Péter Gyula BALÁZS
Gábor László BÁSTI
Mária FISCHERNÉ ERŐS
László Gyula FRIGY
Róbert István HÉJJA
Erzsébet Mária KÁNTORNÉ SZABÓ
József Istvánné LAJKÓ
Sándor Jánosné LEHOCZKI
Éva LESZLAUERNÉ SIKOS
Károly Ferenc NADRAI
Géza Istvánné PÁLYKA
István Géza PÁLYKA
László Zzoltné PÁVICS
László Gábor PIROSKA
Antal Sándor RENDES
SZOMBATHELYI COOP ZRT.
Györgyi Csilla TÖTH
Bernadett ZÁMBÓNÉ ÁGOSTON
Anna GERGELYNÉ PÁPISTA
Klára Erzsébet RÁCZ-SZABÓNÉ
Anna Mária SZABÓ
Csaba Zsolt SZABÓ
Gergely András SZABÓ
Mária SZABÓNÉ TAKÁCS
Gábor Ernő MIHÁCSI
|More than 29 year(s) and 5 day(s)
2 level(s) of jurisdiction
 Plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicants.