(Application no. 34503/03)
3 October 2006
This judgment will become final in the circumstances set out in Article 44 § 2 of the Convention. It may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of Gajcsi v. Hungary,
The European Court of Human Rights (Second Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Mr J.-P. Costa,
Mr A.B. Baka,
Mr I. Cabral Barreto,
Mr R. Türmen,
Mr M. Ugrekhelidze,
Mrs A. Mularoni,
Ms D. Jočienė, judges,
and Mrs S. Dollé, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 12 September 2006,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
“to give an opinion as to whether or not the patient’s (eljárás alá vont személy) admittance to, and prolonged treatment at, the psychiatric department was justified because of his pathological mental status (kóros elmeállapot)”.
The expert confirmed the need to continue the applicant’s treatment.
“The patient (eljárás alá vont személy) was admitted to the psychiatric department.
Relying on the evidence taken and the expert opinion, the court has established that the patient’s prolonged psychiatric treatment was justified and lawful.
The patient is in need of further therapy; the court has therefore given its decision according to section 198(1) of Act no. 154 [on Health Care].”
RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW
“... b) Dangerous conduct is constituted by a condition in which a patient, due to his disturbed state of mind, may represent a serious danger to his or others’ life and limb or health, but, given the nature of the illness, ‘urgent hospitalisation’ [within the meaning of section 199] is not warranted (a sürgős intézeti gyógykezelésbe vétel nem indokolt).”
Section 197 – Voluntary treatment
“(1) The treatment may be considered voluntary if, prior to admission to the psychiatric institution, the [mentally] competent patient has consented to it in writing.
(2) A partly or fully incompetent patient may be subjected to treatment in a psychiatric institution at the request of the person referred to in sections 16(1) and 16(2).”
“(1) In cases under sections 197(1) and 197(2), the court shall regularly review the necessity of hospitalisation. Such review shall take place every 30 days in psychiatric hospitals and every 60 days in psychiatric rehabilitation institutions.”
Section 199 – Urgent hospitalisation
“(1) The doctor in charge shall directly make arrangements to commit a patient to an appropriate psychiatric institution, if the patient’s conduct is imminently dangerous because of his psychiatric or addictive disease and can only be controlled by urgent treatment in a psychiatric institution. ...
(2) The head of the psychiatric institution shall, within 24 hours of the patient’s admission, notify the court thereof and shall thereby initiate steps to establish the necessity of the patient’s admission and the order of compulsory psychiatric treatment. ...
(5) The court shall order the compulsory treatment of a patient subjected to urgent hospitalisation if the patient’s conduct is dangerous and his treatment in an institution necessary.
(6) Before deciding, the court shall hear the patient and obtain the opinion of an independent expert psychiatrist. ...
(8) The court shall review the necessity of the treatment every 30 days.
(9) The patient must be released from the psychiatric institution if his treatment in an institution is no longer necessary.”
Section 200 - Compulsory treatment
“(1) The court shall order the compulsory institutional treatment of a patient whose conduct is dangerous because of his psychiatric or addictive disease but whose urgent treatment is not warranted. ...
(4) Before giving its decision, the court shall hear the patient and an independent ... forensic expert psychiatrist ... as well as the psychiatrist who has initiated the proceedings. ...
(7) The court shall review the necessity of compulsory institutional treatment at the intervals specified in section 198. ...
(8) A patient subjected to compulsory institutional treatment must be released once his treatment is no longer warranted. ...”
Section 201 - Common procedural rules
“(1) In the proceedings outlined in this chapter, the court shall proceed by way of non-contentious proceedings. Unless required otherwise by this Act or the non-contentious nature of the proceedings, the court shall apply the provisions of Act no. 3 of 1952 on Civil Procedure as appropriate. ...
(4) In the court proceedings, appropriate representation must be secured for the patient. ... .”
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 5 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION
“1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be deprived of his liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law: ...
(e) the lawful detention of persons for the prevention of the spreading of infectious diseases, of persons of unsound mind, alcoholics or drug addicts or vagrants; ...”
There has accordingly been a violation of Article 5 § 1 of the Convention.
II. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLES 5 § 4 AND 13 OF THE CONVENTION
III. OTHER ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF THE CONVENTION
IV. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION
“If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party concerned allows only partial reparation to be made, the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.”
B. Costs and expenses
C. Default interest
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY
(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicant, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, EUR 7,350 (seven thousand three hundred and fifty euros) in respect of non-pecuniary damage, to be converted into the national currency of the respondent State at the rate applicable at the date of settlement, plus any tax that may be chargeable;
(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 3 October 2006, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
S. Dollé J.-P. Costa