CASE OF CSÁK v. HUNGARY
(Application no. 25749/10)
15 October 2015
This judgment is final but it may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of Csák v. Hungary,
The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting as a Committee composed of:
Elisabeth Steiner, President,
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. 25749/10) 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 Attila Csák (“the applicant”), on 29 April 2010.
2. The applicant was represented by Mr F. Karsay, a lawyer practising in Budapest. The Hungarian Government (“the Government”) were represented by Mr Z. Tallódi, Agent, Ministry of Justice.
3. On 8 January 2015 the application was communicated to the Government.
THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
4. The applicant was born in 1948 and lives in Budapest.
5. On 14 March 1997 the applicant was interrogated as suspect of breach of duty and other offences.
6. In the ensuing criminal proceedings, after a remittal, the Budapest Regional Court acquitted the applicant on 5 November 2008.
7. On appeal, the Budapest Regional Court of Appeal upheld the acquittal on 26 November 2009.
8. The applicant lodged a petition for review; but the Supreme Court rejected the motion on 13 December 2010.
9. The applicant complained that the length of the proceedings had been incompatible with the “reasonable time” requirement of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.
10. The Government contested that argument.
11. The period to be taken into consideration began on 14 March 1997 and ended on 13 December 2010. It thus lasted 13 years and 9 months for three levels of jurisdiction.
In view of such lengthy proceedings, this complaint must be declared admissible.
12. 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, Pélissier and Sassi v. France [GC], no. 25444/94, § 67, ECHR 1999-II).
13. 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.
14. 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 contested this claim in general terms.
15. The Court does not discern any causal link between the violation found and the pecuniary damage alleged; 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 7,200 under that head.
16. The applicant also claimed HUF 62,500 (approximately EUR 200) as costs and expenses incurred before the Court.
The Government contested this claim.
17. According to the Court’s case-law, an applicant is entitled to the reimbursement of costs and expenses only in so far as it has been shown that these have been actually and necessarily incurred and are reasonable as to quantum. In the present case, regard being had to the documents in its possession and the above criteria, the Court considers it reasonable to award the applicant, who was represented by a lawyer, the sum of EUR 200 for all costs incurred.
18. 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, the following amounts, to be converted into the currency of the respondent State at the rate applicable at the date of settlement:
(i) EUR 7,200 (seven thousand two hundred euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable, in respect of non-pecuniary damage;
(ii) EUR 200 (two hundred euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicant, in respect of costs and expenses;
(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;
4. 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