CASE OF PEÁGICS v. HUNGARY
(Application no. 18699/11)
15 October 2015
This judgment is final but it may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of Peágics v. Hungary,
The European Court of Human Rights (Second Section), sitting as a Committee composed of:
Elisabeth Steiner, President,
Paulo Pinto de Albuquerque,
Erik Møse, 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. 18699/11) 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, Mr András Peágics (“the applicant”), on 19 March 2011.
2. The Hungarian Government (“the Government”) were represented by Mr Z. Tallódi, Agent, Ministry of Justice.
3. On 4 March 2015 the complaint concerning the length of the proceedings was communicated to the Government and the remainder of the application was declared inadmissible.
THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
4. The applicant was born in 1942 and lives in Budapest.
5. The applicant lodged a claim for divorce and dissolution of marital property on 26 November 2002.
6. On 12 October 2004 the divorce was pronounced. On the remainder of the claims, the Buda Central District Court delivered its judgment on 15 April 2013.
7. On appeal, the Budapest Regional Court upheld the decision on 21 April 2014.
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 26 November 2002 and ended on 21 April 2014. It thus lasted almost eleven years and five months for two 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. 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.
14. The Court does not discern any causal link between the violation found and any 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 5,400 under that head.
15. The applicant made no costs claim.
16. 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 length complaint 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 5,400 (five thousand four 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;
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
Deputy Registrar President