(Application no. 16013/02)
20 January 2009
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 Četvertakas and Others v. Lithuania,
The European Court of Human Rights (Second Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Ireneu Cabral Barreto,
Işil Karakaş, judges,
and Sally Dollé, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 16 January 2008,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW AND PRACTICE
“The person whose constitutional rights or freedoms are violated shall have the right to apply to court.”
Article 483. General liability grounds for causing damage
“The person who causes damage to a natural person or to his property ... must compensate it fully, except in cases prescribed by laws...
A person who causes damage is exempted from liability if he proves that the damage was not caused through his fault.
Damage caused by lawful acts must be compensated only in cases established by law ...”
“2. The State shall be liable to full compensation for the damage caused by unlawful actions of a judge or the court trying a civil case, where the damage is caused through the fault of the judge himself or that of any other court official.
3. In addition to pecuniary damage, the aggrieved person shall be entitled to non-pecuniary damage.”
“...by virtue of the Constitution, a person has the right to claim compensation for damage caused by the unlawful actions of State institutions and agents, even if such compensation is not foreseen by law; the courts adjudicating such cases ... have the power to award appropriate compensation by directly applying the principles of the Constitution ... as well as the general principles of law, while being guided inter alia by the principle of reasonableness, etc”.
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ..., everyone is entitled to a ... hearing within a reasonable time by [a] ... tribunal...”
1. The parties' submissions
2. The Court
There has accordingly been a breach of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.
II. OTHER ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF THE CONVENTION
III. 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 first applicant, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, the following sums, to be converted into the currency of the responded State at the rate applicable at the date of settlement:
(i) EUR 1,000 (one thousand euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable, in respect of non-pecuniary damage, and
(ii) EUR 113 (one hundred and thirteen euros) in respect of costs and expenses, plus any tax that may be chargeable to this applicant;
(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;
Done in English, and notified in writing on 20 January 2009, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Sally Dollé Françoise