CASE OF ILONA KOVÁCS v. HUNGARY
(Application no. 47902/08)
17 February 2015
This judgment is final but it may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of Ilona Kovács v. Hungary,
The European Court of Human Rights (Second Section), sitting as a Committee composed of:
Helen Keller, President,
Robert Spano, judges,
and Abel Campos, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 27 January 2015,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
1. The case originated in an application (no. 47902/08) against the Republic of Hungary lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by a Hungarian national, Ms Ilona Kovács (“the applicant”), on 16 September 2008.
2. The Hungarian Government (“the Government”) were represented by Mr Z. Tallódi, Agent, Ministry of Public Administration and Justice.
3. On 17 October 2013 the application was communicated to the Government.
THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
4. The applicant was born in 1960 and lives in Budapest.
5. On 1 September 2006 the applicant brought an action against the Budapest XIV District Mayor’s Office challenging an administrative decision whereby the registration document of her car had been revoked.
6. On 10 September 2010 the Budapest Regional Court adopted a final judgment quashing the administrative decision in question.
7. It appears that the ensuing administrative proceedings to have the registration document reissued have been pending ever since.
8. The applicant complained that the length of the proceedings had been incompatible with the “reasonable time” requirement of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.
9. The Government contested that argument.
10. The period to be taken into consideration began on 1 September 2006 and has not yet ended. It has thus lasted over eight years for administrative proceedings and for one level of court jurisdiction. In view of such lengthy proceedings, this complaint must be declared inadmissible.
11. The Court has frequently found violations of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention in cases raising issues similar to the one in the present application (see, among many other authorities, Frydlender v. France [GC], no. 30979/96, § 43, ECHR 2000-VII).
12. Having examined all the material submitted to it, the Court considers that the Government have not put forward any fact or convincing argument capable of persuading it to reach a different conclusion in the present circumstances. Having regard to its case-law on the subject, the Court considers that the length of the proceedings was excessive and failed to meet the “reasonable time” requirement.
There has accordingly been a breach of Article 6 § 1.
13. The applicant also complained under Article 13 about the absence of an effective domestic remedy to accelerate the proceedings.
The Government did not address this point.
The Court is not aware of any domestic remedy capable of providing redress for the violation of the applicant’s right under Article 6 § 1 to a hearing within a reasonable time (see Bartha v. Hungary, no. 33486/07, § 21, 25 March 2014). Consequently, this complaint should also be declared admissible.
Furthermore, the Court concludes that there has been a violation of Article 13 of the Convention.
14. Despite repeated warnings, the applicant did not submit a claim for just satisfaction. Accordingly, the Court considers that there is no call to award her any sum on that account.
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT, UNANIMOUSLY,
1. Declares the application admissible;
2. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention;
3. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 13 of the Convention.
Done in English, and notified in writing on 17 February 2015, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Abel Campos Helen
Deputy Registrar President