AFFAIRE CSONTOS ET AUTRES c. HONGRIE (European Court of Human Rights)

FOURTH SECTION

CASE OF CSONTOS AND OTHERS v. HUNGARY
(Application no. 33248/13 and 3 others -see appended list)

JUDGMENT
STRASBOURG
17 January 2019

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

In the case of Csontos 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 13 December 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.

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 complainedthat 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.  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.  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

(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 17 January 2019, 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 / Date of 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

(in euros)[1]

1. 33248/13

19/04/2013

IstvánCsontos

18/09/1970

 

 

13/05/2005

 

12/09/2012

 

7 year(s) and 4 month(s) 3 level(s) of jurisdiction

 

2,000
2. 9976/15

18/02/2015

Zsuzsanna Lánczi

16/07/1959

JuhászJózsef

Tök

05/02/2007

 

23/09/2014

 

7 year(s) and 7 month(s) and 19 day(s) 3 level(s) of jurisdiction

 

2,000
3. 61753/15

08/12/2015

(3 applicants)

 XI. KeR. KelenhegyiÚt 11-13. Társasház

30/12/1993

 

Mária VIDA

24/02/1959

LászlóTamás BENCZE

15/10/1967

Vida Mária

Kiskunfélegyháza

09/10/2006

 

 

 

 

 

11/04/2011

 

08/11/2016

 

 

 

 

 

08/11/2016

 

10 year(s) and 1 month(s) 2 level(s) of jurisdiction

(for first applicant)

 

 

5 year(s) and 6 month(s) and 29 day(s) 2 level(s) of jurisdiction

(for second and third applicant)

5,000

(first applicant)

 

 

 

 

2,500

(second applicant)

 

2,500

(third applicant)

4. 66168/17

30/08/2017

KrisztiánKovács

15/01/1973

 

 

05/08/2010

 

04/04/2017

 

6 year(s) and 8 month(s) 3 level(s) of jurisdiction

 

2,000

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

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