CASE OF DÉRY v. HUNGARY
(Application no. 43198/11)
1 October 2015
This judgment is final but it may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of Déry v. Hungary,
The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting as a Committee composed of:
Khanlar Hajiyev, President,
Linos-Alexandre Sicilianos, judges,
and André Wampach, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 8 September 2015,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
1. The case originated in an application (no. 43198/11) against 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 Mária Magdolna Déry (“the applicant”), on 5 July 2011.
2. The applicant was represented by Mr A. Grád, a lawyer practising in Budapest. The Hungarian Government (“the Government”) were represented by Mr Z. Tallódi, Agent, Ministry of Justice.
3. On 25 March 2015 the complaint concerning the length of the proceedings was communicated to the Government and the remainder of the application was declared inadmissible pursuant to Rule 54 § 3 of the Rules of Court.
THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
4. The applicant was born in 1949 and lives in Budapest.
5. The applicant was serving as a judge at the Budapest Labour Court and at the Pest Central District Court. In September 2003 the employer pursued the applicant’s appraisal which resulted in the applicant’s inadequacy for judicial service. From 1 July 2004 the applicant continued working as judicial secretary. The employer ordered further appraisals of the applicant in the forthcoming months. The applicant contested the grounds and the results of these appraisals.
6. The applicant initiated labour lawsuit against her employer on 25 March 2005. On 15 December 2008 the Székesfehérvár Labour Court partly found for the applicant, however, it dismissed the overwhelming part of her claim.
7. On appeal, the Fejér County Court upheld the judgment on 30 September 2009.
8. The applicant challenged the judgment before the Supreme Court which upheld the judgment on 17 January 2011.
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION
9. The applicants complained that the length of the proceedings had been incompatible with the “reasonable time” requirement, laid down in Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.
10. The Government contested that argument.
11. The period to be taken into consideration began on 25 March 2005 and ended on 17 January 2011. It thus lasted five years, nine months and twenty-three days for three levels of jurisdiction.
12. The Court notes that this complaint is not manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 (a) of the Convention. It further notes that it is not inadmissible on any other grounds. It must therefore be declared admissible.
13. 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, among many other authorities, Frydlender v. France [GC], no. 30979/96, § 43, ECHR 2000-VII).
14. The Court has frequently found violations of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention in cases raising issues similar to the one in the present case (see Frydlender, cited above).
15. Having examined all the material submitted to it, the Court considers that the Government have not put forward any fact or argument capable of persuading it to reach a different conclusion in the present case. 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.
There has accordingly been a breach of Article 6 § 1.
II. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION
16. Relying on Article 41 of the Convention, the applicant claimed some pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage to be awarded in line with the Court’s case-law.
17. The Court considers that the applicant must have sustained some non-pecuniary damage. Ruling on the basis of equity, it awards him 900 euros (EUR) under that head.
18. The applicant made no costs claim.
19. 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 application admissible;
2. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention;
(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicant, within three months, EUR 900 (nine hundred euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable, in respect of non-pecuniary damage, 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 1 October 2015, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
André Wampach Khanlar Hajiyev
Deputy Registrar President