CASE OF BALOGH v. HUNGARY
(Application no. 80104/12)
14 December 2017
This judgment is final but it may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of Balogh v. Hungary,
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting as a Committee composed of:
Vincent A. De Gaetano, President,
Marko Bošnjak, judges,
and Liv Tigerstedt, Acting Deputy Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 23 November 2017,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
1. The case originated in an application 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 József Balogh, on 10 December 2012.
2. The application was communicated to the Hungarian Government (“the Government”).
3. The applicant was born in 1939 and lives in Remeteszőlős.
4. Between 31 August 2002 and 16 April 2013 - that is, for ten years and eight months - his action for division of matrimonial property and related issues was pending before the Budapest XX/XXI/XXIII District Court, the Budapest High Court and the Kúria.
5. He complained of the excessive length of the proceedings.
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION
6. The applicant complained that the length of the civil proceedings in question had been incompatible with the “reasonable time” requirement. He relied on Article 6 § 1 of the Convention, which reads as follows:
Article 6 § 1
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ... everyone is entitled to a ... hearing within a reasonable time by [a] ... tribunal ...”
7. The Court reiterates that the reasonableness of the length of proceedings must be assessed in the light of the circumstances of the case and with reference to the following criteria: the complexity of the case, the conduct of the applicants and the relevant authorities and what was at stake for the applicants in the dispute (see Frydlender v. France [GC], no. 30979/96, § 43, ECHR 2000-VII).
8. In the leading case of Gazsó v. Hungary, no. 48322/12, 6 July 2015, the Court already found a violation in respect of issues similar to those in the present application.
9. Having examined all the material submitted to it, the Court has not found any fact or convincing argument capable of persuading it to reach a different conclusion on the admissibility and merits of this complaint. 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.
10. The complaint is therefore admissible and discloses a breach of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.
II. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION
11. Article 41 of the Convention provides:
“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.”
12. Regard being had to the documents in its possession and to its case-law, the Court considers it reasonable to award the sum of 5,000 euros (EUR) in respect of non-pecuniary damage.
13. 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 the application discloses a breach of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention concerning the excessive length of civil proceedings;
(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicant, within three months, EUR 5,000 (five thousand euros), 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.
Done in English, and notified in writing on 14 December 2017, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Liv Tigerstedt Vincent
A. De Gaetano
Acting Deputy Registrar President