CASE OF FEKETE AND OTHERS v. HUNGARY (European Court of Human Rights) 44057/20 and 11 others

The applicants complained of the excessive length of civil proceedings. Some applicants also raised other complaints under the provisions of the Convention.


FIRST SECTION
CASE OF FEKETE AND OTHERS v. HUNGARY
(Applications nos. 44057/20 and 11 others – see appended list)
JUDGMENT
STRASBOURG
7 July 2022

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

In the case of Fekete and Others v. Hungary,

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

Alena Poláčková, President,
Raffaele Sabato,
Davor Derenčinović, judges,
and Attila Teplán, Acting Deputy Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 16 June 2022,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:

PROCEDURE

1. The case originated in applications against Hungary lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) on the various dates indicated in the appended table.

2. The Hungarian Government (“the Government”) were given notice of the applications.

THE FACTS

3. The list of applicants and the relevant details of the applications are set out in the appended table.

4. The applicants complained of the excessive length of civil proceedings. Some applicants also raised other complaints under the provisions of the Convention.

THE LAW

I. JOINDER OF THE APPLICATIONS

5. Having regard to the similar subject matter of the applications, the Court finds it appropriate to examine them jointly in a single judgment.

II. 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.

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

11. Some applicants submitted other complaints under Article 13 of the Convention, which also raised issues, 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 they also disclose violations of the Convention in the light of its findings in Gazsó, cited above, § 21.

IV. 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. Decides to join the applications;

2. Declares the applications admissible;

3. Holds that these applications disclose a breach of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention concerning the excessive length of civil proceedings;

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

5. Holds

(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicants, within three months, the amounts 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 amounts 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 7 July 2022, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.

Attila Teplán                              Alena Poláčková
Acting Deputy Registrar                  President

___________

APPENDIX

List of applications raising complaints under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention

(excessive length of civil proceedings)

No. 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]

1. 44057/20

28/09/2020

Viktória Erzsébet FEKETE

1980

Gerencsér Éva

Budapest

27/06/2014 30/01/2020

(service: 31/03/2020)

5 year(s) and 7 month(s) and 4 day(s)

2 level(s) of jurisdiction

3,300
2. 34759/21

25/06/2021

Catalin Fülöp CRACIUNESCU

1968

 

 

05/09/2018 16/11/2021 3 year(s) and 2 month(s) and 12 day(s)

1 level(s) of jurisdiction

2,000
3. 36662/21

08/07/2021

Sándor NAGY

1954

Cech András

Budapest

05/12/2011 pending More than 10 year(s) and

4 month(s) and 17 day(s)

3 level(s) of jurisdiction

6,800
4. 37623/21

19/07/2021

Ödön VADÁSZI

1966

 

 

14/12/2017 28/04/2021 3 year(s) and 4 month(s) and 15 day(s)

1 level(s) of jurisdiction

2,000
5. 38925/21

26/07/2021

József KÓKAI-NAGY

1975

Szabó Gábor

Göd

22/11/2017 03/12/2021 4 year(s) and 12 day(s)

1 level(s) of jurisdiction

2,600
6. 40489/21

04/08/2021

Lóránt PAPP-GYURKA

1978

Gönczi Gergely

Budapest

04/04/2017 08/02/2021 3 year(s) and 10 month(s) and 5 day(s)

1 level(s) of jurisdiction

2,600
7. 43300/21

18/08/2021

András LENDVAY

1960

Kiss Dániel Bálint

Budapest

26/03/2009 pending More than 13 year(s) and

14 day(s)

1 level(s) of jurisdiction

Art. 13 – lack of any effective remedy in domestic law in respect of excessive length of civil proceedings 9,100
8. 50727/21

29/09/2021

Csaba Mihály KARNAI

1968

Hegedűs András

Budapest

26/06/2017 29/03/2021 3 year(s) and 9 month(s) and 4 day(s)

1 level(s) of jurisdiction

2,600
9. 53420/21

22/10/2021

János IVÁN

1973

Szabó Gábor

Göd

19/04/2018 13/09/2021 3 year(s) and 4 month(s) and 26 day(s)

1 level(s) of jurisdiction

2,000
10. 56335/21

03/11/2021

Róbert HARMATI

1974

 

 

01/01/2017

 

pending

 

More than 5 year(s) and

4 month(s) and 19 day(s)

2 level(s) of jurisdiction

Art. 13 – lack of any effective remedy in domestic law in respect of excessive length of civil proceedings 3,400
11. 56765/21

18/11/2021

János PÁNDI

1982

 

 

22/03/2018 09/06/2021 3 year(s) and 2 month(s) and 19 day(s)

1 level(s) of jurisdiction

2,000
12. 59362/21

18/11/2021

Zoltán FEHÉR

1974

Fahidi Gergely

Budapest

31/05/2017 07/06/2021 4 year(s) and 8 day(s)

1 level(s) of jurisdiction

Art. 13 – lack of any effective remedy in domestic law in respect of excessive length of civil proceedings 2,600

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

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