CASE OF NAVIGACIO SZOVETKEZET AND OTHERS v. HUNGARY (European Court of Human Rights)

FOURTH SECTION
CASE OF NAVIGÁCIÓ SZÖVETKEZET AND OTHERS v. HUNGARY
(Application no. 22579/13 and 6 others -see appended list)

JUDGMENT
STRASBOURG
15 November 2018

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

In the case of Navigáció Szövetkezet and Others v. Hungary,

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

Georges Ravarani, President,
Marko Bošnjak,
PéterPaczolay, judges,
and LivTigerstedtActingDeputy Section Registrar,

Having deliberated in private on 25 October 2018,

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.  Notice of the applications was given to the Hungarian Government (“the Government”).

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 a complaint under Article 13 of the Convention (see appended table).

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 persuading it to reach a different conclusion on the admissibility and merits of these complaints. 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 another complaint under Article 13 of the Convention which also raised issues under the Convention, given the relevant well-established case-law of the Court (see appended table). This complaint is not manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 (a) of the Convention, nor is it inadmissible on any other ground. Accordingly, it must be declared admissible. Having examined all the material before it, the Court concludes that it also discloses a violation of Article 13 of the Convention in the light of its findings in Gazsó v. Hungary (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 Article 13 of the Convention (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 15 November 2018, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.

LivTigerstedt                                                               Georges Ravarani
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

Date of birth

 

Repres-entative’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 /household

(in euros)[1]

1. 22579/13

25/03/2013

Navigáció Szövetkezet

 

Dániel KŐSZEGI

21/10/1957

Szeiler Erika

Budapest

15/07/2005

 

06/11/2012

 

7 year(s) and 3 month(s) and 23 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 – 3,000
2. 42761/13

10/06/2013

Orsolya Szigeti

17/06/1997

RimaiÉva

Magyarföld

12/12/2008

 

15/11/2012

 

3 year(s) and 11 month(s) and 4 day(s) 2 level(s) of jurisdiction 1,600
3. 45466/13

09/07/2013

(5 applicants)

LászlóHorváth

21/01/1955

András KÁZMÉR

22/03/1944

Andrásné KRAUTER

13/05/1940

Ignácné SZABÓ

20/04/1944

Klára SASVÁRINÉ KÁZMÉR

22/09/1935

Kiss Dániel Bálint

Budapest

12/06/2009

 

26/06/2014

 

5 year(s) and 15 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 – 2,000

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

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