CASE OF PATYI (No. 3) v. HUNGARY
(Application no. 1936/10)
15 October 2015
This judgment is final but it may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of Patyi (no. 3) v. Hungary,
The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting as a Committee composed of:
Mirjana Lazarova Trajkovska,
Erik Mřse, judges,
and André Wampach, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 22 September 2015,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
1. The case originated in an application (no. 1936/10) 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, Mr István Patyi (“the applicant”), on 23 December 2009.
2. The Hungarian Government (“the Government”) were represented by Mr Z. Tallódi, Agent, Ministry of Justice.
3. On 6 June 2013 the complaints concerning the length of the proceedings and the lack of remedies in that respect was communicated to the Government and the remainder of the application was declared inadmissible.
4. The applicant was born in 1965 and lives in Budapest.
5. The applicant lodged a claim for a violation of his personality rights against several respondents on 15 August 2005.
6. The Budapest Regional Court partly found for the applicant and, on appeal, the Budapest Regional Court of Appeal upheld the decision.
7. The applicant lodged a petition for review. The Kúria upheld the previous decisions 24 October 2012.
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 15 August 2005 and ended on 24 October 2012. It thus lasted over seven years and two months for three levels of jurisdiction.
In view of such lengthy proceedings, this complaint must be declared admissible.
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 further complained of the fact that there was no effective remedy available to him in order to complain of the excessive length of proceedings. He relied on Article 13 of the Convention.
14. The Government did not express an opinion on the matter.
15. The Court has already found that there is no effective remedy available under Hungarian law to provide redress for complaints about the excessive length of civil proceedings (see Bartha v. Hungary, no. 33486/07, § 21, 25 March 2014). It sees no reason to hold otherwise in the present case.
It follows that there has been a violation of Article 13 of the Convention.
16. Relying on Article 41 of the Convention, the applicant claimed pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages to be awarded in line with the Court’s case-law in Hungarian length-of-proceedings cases.
The Government did not address this issue.
17. The Court does not discern any causal link between the violation found and any pecuniary damage; it therefore rejects this claim. On the other hand, it considers that the applicant must have sustained some non-pecuniary damage. Ruling on the basis of equity, it awards him EUR 1,350 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 complaints under Articles 6 § 1 and 13 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;
(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicant, within three months, EUR 1,350 (one thousand three hundred and fifty 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;
5. Dismisses the remainder of the applicant’s claim for just satisfaction.
Done in English, and notified in writing on 15 October 2015, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
André Wampach Elisabeth Steiner
Deputy Registrar President