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  JUDICIAL SYSTEMS
Evaluation scheme

Type of proceedings

Stage of proceedings

Origins of delay

All proceedings

Before proceedings start

Territorial distribution of court jurisdiction; transfer of judges; insufficient number of judges; systematic use of multi-member tribunals (benches); backlog of cases; complete inactivity by judicial authorities; systematic shortcomings in procedural rules;

 

From initiation to the closure of hearings

Failure to summon parties or witnesses; unlawful summons; late entry into force of legislation; disputes about the jurisdiction between administrative and judicial authorities; late transmission of the case file to the appeal court; delays imputable to barristers, solicitors, local and other authorities; judicial inertia in conduct of the case; involvement of expert witnesses; frequent adjournment of hearings; excessive intervals between hearings; excessive delay before the hearing.

 

After hearings

Excessive lapse of time between making of the judgment and its notification to the court registry or parties;

Civil proceedings

 

Failure to use the courts’ discretionary power; absence or inadequacy of rules of civil procedure;

Criminal proceedings

 

Structural problems relating to organisation of prosecution service; decisions to join or not to join criminal cases; failure of witnesses to attend hearings; dependence of civil proceedings on the outcome of criminal proceedings;

Administrative proceedings

 

Delays attributable to non-judicial authorities.

Type of case

Issues

Length

Decision

Criminal cases

Diverse

More than 5 y.

Violation

Civil cases

Priority cases

More than 2 y. (min: 1y10m)

Violation

Civil cases

Complex cases

More than 8 y.

Violation

Administrative

Priority

More than 2 y.

Violation

Administrative

Regular, complex

More than 5 y.

Violation

Type of case

Issues

Length

Decision

Criminal cases

Normal cases

3y6m (total in 3 instances); 4y3m (total in 3 levels. + investigation)

No violation

Criminal cases

Complex

8y5m (investigation and 3 levels)

No violation

Civil cases

Simple cases

1y10m in first instance; 1y8m on appeal; 1y9m Court of Cassation

No violation

Civil cases

Priority cases (labour)

1y7m in first instance (labour); 1y9m on appeal; 1y9m Court of Cassation

No violation

Courts also function in co-operation with an increasing number of other institutions. The required "diligence" must concern all national authorities and the officials working for them, whether they are responsible for drafting defence submissions on behalf of governments or for responding to requests for out-of-court settlements. Other decentralised or devolved public bodies are equally concerned, when they become parties to certain proceedings concerned with guardianship or statutory care, for example, or are consulted by the courts in proceedings relating to social services or social security matters.

Appendix 1 updated

   

Violations under the "length of proceedings" (article 6 § 1) per country(*)

 
   

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

 
 

    Population
    (in millions
    of inhabitants)
    (**)

    Total number of judgments

of which violation

Length of proceedings

Total number of judgments

of which violation

Length of proceedings

    Total number of judgments

of which violation

Length of proceedings

Total number of judgments

of which violation

Length of proceedings

Total number of judgments

of which violation

Length of proceedings

Albania

3,2

     

6

5

2

           

7

5

1

Germany

82,3

10

6

4

12

7

5

10

6

5

21

18

14

36

29

29

Austria

8,4

21

20

3

23

20

8

14

11

7

15

13

6

19

16

9

Azerbaïjan

9,2

           

9

7

2

           

Belgium

10,7

7

4

2

15

14

10

14

12

9

11

8

2

     

Bulgaria

7,5

45

43

16

53

51

19

60

51

25

63

61

21

81

69

31

Cyprus

1,1

15

15

15

7

7

6

9

6

2

3

3

3

     

Croatia

4,4

22

21

16

39

29

14

19

16

11

19

16

6

21

21

8

Denmark

5,6

           

2

2

2

3

3

3

     

Spain

46,1

                 

17

11

3

     

Estonia

1,3

     

3

3

2

     

4

4

1

     

Russian Federation

143,0

102

96

18

192

175

11

244

233

20

219

210

34

217

204

29

Finland

5,4

17

12

7

26

16

9

9

8

2

29

28

19

17

16

9

France

62,8

96

87

25

48

19

6

34

24

1

33

20

2

42

28

1

Georgia

4,4

           

6

4

1

11

11

2

     

Greece

11,4

55

53

32

65

61

38

74

73

53

75

69

41

56

53

33

Hungary

10,0

31

31

27

24

24

22

44

43

39

30

28

20

21

21

14

Ireland

4,5

                       

2

2

1

Italy

60,6

103

96

17

67

58

25

82

72

51

69

61

12

98

61

44

Latvia

2,3

10

9

3

12

8

2

                 

«former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia»

2,1

8

7

7

17

16

11

15

15

10

17

16

10

15

14

7

Liechtenstein

0,4

1

1

1

                 

1

1

1

Lithuania

3,3

7

6

3

5

3

2

     

9

8

7

8

7

3

Liechtenstein

0,4

1

1

1

                 

1

1

1

Lithuania

3,3

7

6

3

5

3

2

     

9

8

7

8

7

3

   

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

 

    Population
    (in millions
    of inhabitants)
    (**)

    Total number of judgments

of which violation

Length of proceedings

    Total number of judgments

of which violation

Length of proceedings

    Total number of judgments

of which violation

Length of proceedings

    Total number of judgments

of which violation

Length of proceedings

    Total number of judgments

of which violation

Length of proceedings

Luxembourg

0,5

2

2

1

7

6

2

6

4

3

     

7

5

3

Malta

0,4

8

8

3

     

5

2

1

           

Moldova

3,6

20

18

1

60

59

2

33

28

3

30

29

3

     

Norway

4,9

     

5

5

1

5

3

1

           

Netherlands

16,6

                             

Poland

38,3

115

107

51

111

101

35

141

129

63

133

123

50

107

87

37

Portugal

10,7

5

4

1

     

12

12

1

17

17

3

19

15

6

Czech Republic

10,5

39

37

27

11

9

3

           

11

9

1

Romania

21,5

73

64

7

93

88

8

199

189

25

168

153

16

143

135

16

United Kingdom

62,0

23

10

1

50

19

1

26

27

1

18

14

2

21

14

1

San Marino

0,3

                             

Serbia

9,9

     

14

14

8

9

8

3

16

14

5

9

9

2

Slovakia

5,5

35

35

32

23

22

14

15

12

11

39

38

29

40

40

29

Slovenia

2,0

190

185

183

15

14

13

9

8

7

8

7

4

6

3

2

Sweden

9,4

8

3

2

7

5

4

2

2

1

     

6

4

1

Switzerland

7,7

9

9

1

           

7

5

1

     

Turkey

72,8

334

312

48

331

319

67

264

257

64

356

341

95

278

228

83

Ukraine

45,4

120

119

12

109

108

34

110

110

32

126

126

35

109

107

60

                                 

TOTAUX

811,9

1531

1420

566

1450

1285

384

1481

1374

456

1566

1455

449

1397

1203

461

                                 

Sources :

                               

(*) Rapports annuels 2007 à 2010, Greffe de la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme, Strasbourg

(**)
INSEE (estimations de population en milieu d'année 2010)
: http://www.insee.fr/fr/themes/tableau.asp?reg_id=98&ref_id=CMPTEF01105
(site consulté le 08/11/2011), et
ONU (Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat - World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision) :
http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/unpp/panel_population.htm (site consulté le 08/11/2011)

Annexe 1 bis updatede

             
               

Violations under the "length of proceedings" (article 6 § 1) per country(*)

   

1999
2006

1959
2010

 

Population
(in millions
of inhabitants)

Total number of judgments

Judgments establishing
at least one violation

Length of proceedings

Total number of judgments

Judgments establishing
at least one violation

Length of proceedings

Albania

3,2

 

 

 

27

23

3

Germany

82,3

76

53

23

193

128

83

Austria

8,4

141

111

45

287

215

81

Azerbaïjan

9,2

 

 

 

42

38

2

Belgium

10,7

67

50

33

162

113

55

Bulgaria

7,5

116

109

45

375

343

141

Cyprus

1,1

35

29

22

60

50

34

Croatia

4,4

101

72

41

191

154

80

Denmark

5,6

20

5

2

34

13

8

Spain

46,1

32

24

6

91

56

11

Estonia

1,3

12

9

1

23

19

4

Russian Federation

143,0

207

197

47

1079

1019

141

Finland

5,4

64

47

18

151

119

57

France

62,8

541

431

245

815

604

279

Georgia

4,4

10

9

2

39

32

5

Greece

11,4

301

258

181

613

541

353

Hungary

10,0

92

84

75

211

200

170

Ireland

4,5

12

7

4

25

15

6

Italy

60,6

1648

1264

923

2121

1617

1139

Latvia

2,3

18

16

4

45

37

6

               
   

1999
2006

1959
2010

 

Population
(in millions
of inhabitants (**)

Total number of judgments

Judgments establishing
at least one violation

Length of proceedings

Total number of judgments

Judgments establishing
at least one violation

Length of proceedings

«former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia»

2,1

14

11

9

78

72

47

Liechtenstein

0,4

4

4

1

5

5

2

Lithuania

3,3

30

23

7

65

52

19

Luxembourg

0,5

12

11

8

36

29

16

Malta

0,4

15

14

4

31

25

5

Moldova

3,6

45

42

2

196

178

10

Norway

4,9

 

 

 

28

20

2

Netherlands

16,6

60

36

5

128

73

8

Poland

38,3

378

318

210

874

761

397

Portugal

10,7

131

74

59

206

138

77

Czech Republic

10,5

117

106

73

158

142

77

Romania

21,5

186

152

13

791

719

78

United Kingdom

62,0

206

141

17

443

271

25

San Marino

0,3

10

8

2

11

8

2

Serbia

9,9

 

 

 

49

46

18

Slovakia

5,5

128

104

83

248

218

166

Slovenia

2,0

195

188

195

233

220

211

Sweden

9,4

35

13

5

95

47

12

Switzerland

7,7

34

27

4

102

71

6

Turkey

72,8

1310

1076

127

2573

2245

440

Ukraine

45,4

263

258

32

717

709

193

               

TOTAUX

811,9

6666

5381

2573

13651

11385

4469

               

Sources :

             

(*) Rapports annuels 2007 à 2010, Greffe de la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme, Strasbourg

(**)
INSEE (estimations de population en milieu d'année 2010)
: http://www.insee.fr/fr/themes/tableau.asp?reg_id=98&ref_id=CMPTEF01105
(site consulté le 08/11/2011), et
ONU (Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat - World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision) :
http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/unpp/panel_population.htm (site consulté le 08/11/2011)

CASE

REASONS FOR COMPLEXITY

GROUNDS OF
VIOLATION

TYPE OF PROCEEDINGS

LENGTH

Ilijkov v. BULGARIA,
2 July 2001

- several co-accused who had fraudulently obtained tax rebates

- excessively long intervals between hearings
- judicial authorities authorised adjournments without sufficient justification
- absence of judges who were not replaced

CRIMINAL

5 years

Nikolova v. BULGARIA,
25 March 1999

- several co-accused
- criminal activities over a three year period

- the complexity of the case insufficient to explain the length of the proceedings
- reform of the code of criminal procedure cannot justify the delays
- lack of progress of investigations despite instructions from the prosecuting authorities

CRIMINAL

5 years
for one level
of courts

Mitev v. BULGARIA,
22 December 2004

- numerous witnesses
- use of experts
- difficult to locate witnesses

- insufficient efforts by the authorities to ensure that one of the accused had legal representation
- excessively long investigation period (more than five years)

CRIMINAL

6 years, 7 months
for two levels of courts

Hamanov v. BULGARIA,
8 April 2004

- several persons suspected
- numerous financial offences

- court of appeal first hearing more than a year after the judgment at first instance was quashed
- case pending since 5 June 2000, including a challenge to the admissibility of the appeal lodged with the court of cassation

CRIMINAL

7 years, 1 month
(case still pending on the date of judgment)

Belchev v. BULGARIA
8 April 2004

- several persons suspected
- numerous financial offences

- court of appeal first hearing more than a year after the judgment at first instance was quashed
- case pending since 5 June 2000, including a challenge to the admissibility of the appeal lodged with the court of cassation

CRIMINAL

(case still pending on the date of judgment)

Sahiner v. TURKEY,
25 September 2001

- large number of accused and of charges

- excessive time taken to hand down judgments
- change of legislation but states must organise their judicial systems appropriately

CRIMINAL

6 years, 2 months
(real length
15 years)

Mitap v. TURKEY,
21 February 1996

- nature of the charges against the applicants (terrorist activities)
- 627 criminal offences
- 726 accused

- long periods of inactivity (three years for the martial law court to draft the reasons for the judgment) and the government offered no information to justify such a long period

CRIMINAL

6 years
(real length
15 years)

Demirel v. TURKEY,
28 April 2003

- case heard with that of four other co-accused for membership of the PKK

- the preliminary inquiries should have been conducted more rapidly
- it had taken a long time to hear witnesses

CRIMINAL

7 years, 7 months

Iwanczuk v. POLAND
15 November 2001

- inherent complexity of this type of case (forgery and use of counterfeit documents)

- change in the court's composition
- hearings restarted from the beginning, after 71 had already taken place

CRIMINAL

8½ years
(real length:
10½ years, case still pending)

Ilowiecki v. POLAND,
4 October 2001

- numerous international bank transactions
- need to call in several experts

- total of two years and ten months for which the government supplied no explanation

CRIMINAL

7 years, 10 months
(case still pending)

Grauslys v. LITHUANIA,
10 October 2000

- fraud case

- authorities' repeated failures to question the victims

CRIMINAL

5 years
(case still pending)

Kalashnikov v. RUSSIA,
15 July 2002

- financial offences, involving a considerable volume of evidence and the need to question numerous witnesses

- even though the applicant helped to prolong the proceedings, Article 6§1 does not require defendants to co-operate with the authorities
- the applicant was kept in custody, which required the courts to show particular diligence and administer justice expeditiously

CRIMINAL

2 years
(real length:
5 years, 1 month
for one level of courts

Lavents v. LATVIA,
28 February 2003

- very large scale financial crime
- several co-accused
- exceptional volume of evidence
- scale of the investigation

- the delays were imputable to the courts (see the joint communiqué from the prime minister and the justice minister acknowledging their responsibility)

CRIMINAL

6 years, 7 months
(real length: 7 years, 8 months)

Stratégies et communications and Dumoulin v. BELGIUM
15 July 2002

- complex investigation, because of the circumstances of the case (45 boxes of case files)

- the Court considered that six years just for the investigation stage of the proceedings, which had not yet even been completed, could not be considered reasonable

CRIMINAL

6 years

Boddaert v. BELGIUM (Commission), 17 April 1991

- no witness to the murder
- the applicant and his co-accused each claimed the other was responsible

- total suspension of the investigation for three years, a period imputable to the authorities

CRIMINAL

6 years, 2 months

Metzger v. GERMANY,
31 May 2001

- issues relating to criminal law and the environment
- water pollution
- need for expert testimony
- numerous witnesses

- the investigation made no progress for fifteen months between the lodging of the police report and the laying of charges
- unjustified delays in the trial courts, particularly between the laying of charges and the regional court's decision not to allow the trial to open, and between the decision to suspend proceedings and the appointment of an expert by the regional court
- two years and three months' delay resulting from the federal court of justice quashing the regional court's judgment on procedural grounds, because it had not received this judgment within the legally prescribed period

CRIMINAL

more than 9 years

Nuvoli v. ITALY,
16 August 2002

- economic and financial crime (seizure of a banking instrument on the instructions of the prosecuting authorities)

- the authorities were held responsible for overall delays lasting about three years and four months

CRIMINAL

5 years, 10 months for one level of courts

Ouattara v. FRANCE,
2 August 2005

- complexity increased by the fact that the person against whom the applicant had lodged a complaint, with an application for damages, could not be extradited

- investigation still under way, more than eleven years after the applicant had lodged his complaint
- several periods of inactivity imputable to the authorities

CRIMINAL

11 years, 6 months
(investigation still under way)

Dobbertin v. FRANCE,
25 February 1993

- real difficulties arising from the highly sensitive nature of the offences charged, which related to national security (communication with agents of a foreign power, the German Democratic Republic)

- authorities took no steps to ensure that the cases still pending, including the applicant's, were dealt with swiftly
- ordinary courts were slow to resolve the issue of the validity of the indictment (nine months) and to quash the order commissioning experts (two years)

CRIMINAL

12 years, 10 months
for three levels of courts

H. v. UNITED KINGDOM
8 July 1987

- numerous parties: the applicant, her husband, the prospective adopters, the official solicitor and the local county council
- difficult to assess such a large body of evidence

- in the pre-High Court phase the county council (and thus the state) was responsible for the delays
- the mother's future relations with her child were at stake, creating a duty to exercise exceptional diligence

CIVIL

2 years, 7 months

Müller v. SWITZERLAND,
5 November 2002

- novel and fundamental issues of compensation for expropriation on account of noise nuisance

- excessively lengthy proceedings prior to the proceedings before the Federal Court (Süssmann case deemed inapplicable, as concerning the “unique political context of German reunification")

CIVIL

11 years, 6 months

Nuutinen v. FINLAND,
27 June 2000

- not a complex case at the outset but became so at the enforcement stage, with the continuous reassessment of the child's best interests

- time elapsed between the initial application and the first hearing and between the latter and the main proceedings
- what was at stake in the case (essential for custody cases to be dealt with speedily)

CIVIL

5 years, 5 months

T. v. AUSTRIA,
14 November 2000

- bank’s claim and applicant’s counterclaim were both extended in the course of the proceedings

- delays imputable to the applicant, who often changed counsel, were much less significant than those imputable to the authorities (altogether four years and three months imputable to the district court)

CIVIL

8 ½ years
for one level of courts

Wiesinger v. AUSTRIA,
24 September 1991

- case concerned land consolidation, by its nature a complex process, affecting the interests of both individuals and the community as a whole
- legally complex

- adoption of an amendment to the zoning plan by the municipal council
- difficulties stemming from a lack of coordination between the municipal and the agricultural authorities in finalising their schemes

CIVIL

more than 9 years

Bayrak v. GERMANY,
20 December 2001

- complexity caused by the case's foreign links (the dispute came under Turkish rather than German law)
- complexity of the resulting legal issues, such as German courts' geographical jurisdiction

- six different courts were involved in the case: considered individually the time they took was not unreasonable but the overall length of proceedings, which was imputable to the authorities, was unreasonable

CIVIL

more than 8 years

Mianowicz v. GERMANY, 18 October 2001

- case relating to the dismissal of a disabled person, whose complexity was linked to the protection against dismissal legislation and that on severely disabled persons

- main delays caused by the delays in the Munich employment court of appeal, where there were two inactive periods
- particular diligence is required in employment disputes, which have to be settled with particular dispatch since they concern issues that are crucial to individuals' occupational situation

CIVIL

12 years, 10 months for two levels of courts

H.T. v. GERMANY,
11 October 2001

- the Constitutional Court was asked to rule on the constitutionality of certain aspects of the reform of the survivors' pension system

- delays imputable to the social court
- particular diligence was required in view of what was at stake

CIVIL

nearly 12 years

Klein v. GERMANY,
27 July 2000

- fairly complex case, as shown by the length of and reasons for the judgment of the Constitutional Court, which had solicited the observations of various authorities

- the chronic backlog of cases in the Constitutional Court could not justify the length of proceedings
- important issues at stake for many German citizens

CIVIL

9 years, 8 months

K. v. ITALY,
20 July 2004

- action to secure execution of a maintenance order (Polish decision ordering Italian father to pay maintenance to his illegitimate daughter at the Polish mother's request)

- the Italian authorities waited too long before starting the various proceedings

CIVIL

8 ½ years

Obermeier v. AUSTRIA,
28 June 1990

- interaction between administrative and civil proceedings in connection with the dismissal of disabled persons
- numerous courts involved

- "the fact remains, however, that a period of nine years without reaching a final decision exceeds a reasonable time"

ADM + CIVIL (dismissal)

more than 9 years

F.E v. FRANCE,
30 October 1998

- reference to plenary Court of Cassation indicated that the case was somewhat complex

- the Court of Cassation had already given several rulings on legal issue raised
- exceptional expedition called for

CIVIL (HIV)

2 years, 3 months

Kanoun v. FRANCE,
3 October 2000

- nature of the asset to be shared between the ex-spouses
- their inability to agree before a lawyer, necessitating numerous referrals to court

- the authorities failed to show the necessary dispatch in arranging the settlement, following the divorce in 1974, for example the Court of Cassation was open to criticism

CIVIL

19 years

Satonnet v. FRANCE,
2 August 2000

- the applicant's status as a dismissed contractual employee, which meant that both the judicial and administrative courts had to rule on the case

- the complexity of the case and the applicant's conduct were not sufficient justification for the total length of the proceedings
- several periods of inactivity imputable to the judicial authorities

CIVIL then ADM

17 ½ years
(case still pending)

Vallée v. FRANCE,
26 April 1994

- difficult problems raised by the subrogation of the Fund to the rights of persons who had received compensation

- the information needed to determine the State's liability had been available for a long time
- what was at stake

CIVIL then ADM (HIV)

4 years
in one single court

Pailot v. FRANCE,
22 April 1998

– certain complexity due to the nature of the case

- information needed to determine State’s liability had been available for a long time
- period of one year and ten months between adoption of Commission’s report noting that there had been a friendly settlement and Conseil d’Etat’s judgment bringing to an end proceedings that had already lasted five years and six months up to conclusion of that settlement far exceeded reasonable time in such a case
- exceptional diligence called for

ADM + CIVIL (HIV)

1 year, 10 months

Nouhaud v. FRANCE,
9 July 2002

- numerous parties involved and long lapse of time since the events took place
- defendants' public law status
- problems of settling jurisdiction between judicial and administrative courts

- the complexity of the case and the applicant's conduct were not sufficient to explain the overall length of the proceedings

ADM

10 years
for four levels of courts

Piron v. FRANCE,
14 November 2000

- land consolidation

- long periods of inactivity solely imputable to the authorities and for which no explanation supplied

ADM

26 years, 5 months
(case still under way)

Marschner v. FRANCE,
28 September 2004

- financial offences

- delays in submitting expert reports and in holding hearings

ADM

5 years, 4 months

Styranowski v. POLAND,
30 October 1998

- transfer from one court to another

- 15 months of unexplained inactivity

ADM

2 years, 8 months

Naumenko v. UKRAINE,
30 March 2005

- the state lacked the necessary technical documentation on the problem (invalidity following employment at the Chernobyl site)

- unreasonable delays imputable to the state
- importance of what was at stake for the applicant (health)

ADM

5 years, 8 months

Janosevic v. SWEDEN,
23 July 2002

- the tax authority and the courts had to assess the turnover of the applicant's taxi business and his liability to additional taxes and tax surcharges

- this did not justify the length of proceedings – on the contrary, the enforcement measures taken against the applicant called for a prompt examination of his appeals

ADM

6 years, 8 months

CASE

REASONS FOR COMPLEXITY

GROUNDS OF VIOLATION

TYPE OF PROCEEDINGS

LENGTH

Gast and Popp v. GERMANY,
25 February 2000

- complexity of the points of law to which the decisions dismissing the applicants' appeals referred

- the delays that occurred did not appear substantial enough for the length of the proceedings before the Constitutional Court to have exceeded a reasonable time

CRIMINAL

approximately 2 years for each applicant

Neumeister v. AUSTRIA,
27 June 1968

- difficulties the Austrian authorities encountered abroad in obtaining the execution of their numerous letters rogatory

- the delays in opening and reopening the hearing were in large part caused by the need to give the legal representatives of the parties and also the judges sitting on the case time to acquaint themselves with the case record, which comprised twenty-one volumes of about five hundred pages

CRIMINAL

7 years
(case still pending on the date of judgment)

Pedersen and Baadsgaard v. DENMARK,
17 December 2004

- no details on the points of the case considered complex

- the applicants contributed to the delays (not very involved, did not object to adjournments and their counsel did not attend scheduled hearings)
- the Court detailed the length of each set of proceedings and did not find any period of inactivity sufficiently protracted to constitute a violation

CRIMINAL

5 years, 9 months

Van Pelt v. FRANCE,
23 May 2000

- international drugs traffic, numerous persons involved, international nature of the trafficking organisation, offences partly committed abroad, need to translate documents

- numerous measures taken by the investigating judge and prompt decisions taken by the trial court
- two dissenting opinions on this point

CRIMINAL

8 years, 8 months

Calvelli and Ciglio v. ITALY,
17 January 2002

- certainly complex (death of a new-born child in hospital)

- no significant periods of inactivity
- six years, three months and ten days for four levels of courts cannot be considered unreasonable

CRIMINAL

6 years, 3 months
for four levels
of courts

I.J.L. and others v.
United Kingdom
19 September 2000

- financial offences
- applicants' decision to plead not guilty

- authorities could not be held responsible for the delays

CRIMINAL

4 ½ years

Karabas v. TURKEY
21 July 2005

- charges carrying heavy prison sentences
- seven co-accused
- need to question some of the co-accused and witnesses in other courts following a request for judicial assistance from the state security court, which occasioned a certain delay, particularly concerning exchanges of correspondence between courts in different towns.

- no significant periods of inactivity

CRIMINAL

3 years, 9 months
for two levels
of courts

Özden v. TURKEY,
24 May 2005

- five co-accused, including two who were fleeing justice

- applicants' lack of interest (failure to appear, absence on the day judgment handed down, which delayed the appeals process)

CRIMINAL

4 years, 9 months
for two levels
of courts

Sari v. TURKEY,
8 November 2001

- complexity partly linked to extradition
- case also became complex when the applicant fled to Denmark
- shared jurisdiction of the two countries, leading to bureaucratic difficulties and requirements for translations

- applicant contributed to the delay, since the obligation to appear in court is a key element of criminal procedure
- authorities did not contribute to prolonging the proceedings

CRIMINAL

8 years, 7 months

Kenan Yavuz v. TURKEY,
13 February 2004

- 21 accused
- nature of the charges against the applicant
- several offences
- need to assemble considerable quantity of evidence

- even though the state was responsible for certain delays the total length of proceedings was not unreasonable

CRIMINAL

more than 5 years

Akçakale v. TURKEY, 25 August 2004

- three accused for several offences (great deal of work on reconstructing events, assembling evidence and establishing level of involvement)

- the applicant contributed to delays, by failing to appear or furnish written material necessary for the court's deliberations
- no periods of inactivity

CRIMINAL

5 years, 3 months

Intiba v. TURKEY,
24 May 2005

- numerous persons concerned
- tax law

- the applicant contributed to delays, by failing to appear, asking for an adjournment, dismissing his counsel, changing address to avoid notification and refusing to be represented
- authorities responsible for one year's inactivity but no impact on the length of proceedings
- in proceedings on this scale deciding on a timetable depends on the availability of the lawyers as well as on the court

CRIMINAL

7 years, 11 months

Keçeci v. TURKEY,
15 July 2005

- numerous accused, nature of the offences, difficult to re-establish events and determine individual roles

- no significant periods of inactivity

CRIMINAL

6 years, 2 months
for five levels
of courts

Klamecki v. POLAND,
28 March 2002

- nature of the charges
- need to assemble considerable quantity of evidence
- large number of witnesses heard at first instance

- applicants contributed to delays by failing to comply with court summonses
- accused absent on a number of occasions, leading to adjournments
- applicant dismissed counsel on a number of occasions

CRIMINAL

6 years, 1 month

Salapa v. POLAND,
19 December 2002

- international drug trafficking case
- ten co-accused
- numerous witnesses
- need to consult the files of current criminal proceedings in other courts, for evidence purposes

- applicant contributed to delays through numerous absences (as did certain witnesses)
- court tried to expedite proceedings by refusing the applicant's requests to have the case returned to the prosecution and separating the applicant's case from that of two of the co-accused, who were absent

CRIMINAL

5 years, 8 months

G.K. v. POLAND,
20 January 2004

- complex case as shown by the volume of evidence obtained and heard during the proceedings
- 13 accused, 104 witnesses and 9 expert witnesses

- accused contributed to delays, through absences or requests for adjournment
- delays were not particularly long and certainly not imputable to the authorities

CRIMINAL

nearly 5 years

Sablon v. BELGIUM,
10 April 2001

- very complex case, because of need to establish twenty years later whether applicant had been in a state of bankruptcy and difficulty of determining his assets

- applicant had lodged many applications, some of which had been irrelevant or pointless, thus complicating the case still further
- no significant periods of inactivity imputable to the authorities

CIVIL

 

Soc v. CROATIA,
9 August 2003

- death of co-contracting party, who had sold property to a third party, despite the contract
- the other contracts had not been registered

- applicant had not supplied answers to the defendant's allegations and was absent from certain hearings
- hearings were otherwise held regularly

CIVIL

4½ years x two sets of proceedings

Acquaviva v. FRANCE,
21 November 1995

- tense political climate in Corsica

- applicants contributed to prolonging the proceedings
- necessary steps in the investigation had proceeded at a regular pace
- delays justified by the political situation

CIVIL

4 years, 4 months

Proszak v. POLAND,
16 December 1997

- specialist medical advice essential

- applicant contributed to delays through three groundless challenges, missed hearings and refusal to attend psychiatric examination
- almost the whole period falling within its jurisdiction ratione temporis was essentially taken up with the search for an expert with sufficient specialist qualifications, as the applicant herself had wished. With particular regard "to the part played by the applicant in the conduct of the proceedings", the Court concluded that there had been no violation.

CIVIL

3 years, 9 months

Glaser
v. UNITED KINGDOM
13 December 2000

- complex family history: need to re-establish confidence between applicant and his child and mother's determination to avoid contacts

- applicant contributed to delays
- delays not imputable to authorities

CIVIL

3 years, 11 months

Olsson II v. SWEDEN,
27 November 1992

- difficult assessments and extensive investigations

- hearings extended over 13½ months in three levels of courts, which was not excessive

CIVIL

13½ months
for three levels
of courts

Süssmann v. GERMANY,
16 September 1996

- case "was one of twenty-four constitutional appeals raising similar issues of some difficulty, concerning supplementary pensions of large numbers of German civil servants, which necessitated a detailed examination in substance by the court"

"bearing in mind the unique political context of German reunification and the serious social implications of the disputes which concerned termination of employment contracts, the Federal Constitutional Court was entitled to decide that it should give priority to those cases"

ADMINISTRATIVE

3 years, 4 months

CASE

WHAT WAS AT STAKE FOR THE APPLICANT

GROUNDS FOR DECISION

TYPE OF PROCEEDINGS

LENGTH

Broca and Texier-Micault
v. FRANCE,
21 October 2003

No particular stake

- Concerning the first applicant the Government acknowledged that the duration of the proceedings at first instance and on appeal "could be considered relatively long"
- Concerning the second, the appeal proceedings had been pending for three years and the Government had given no explanation for this

ADMINISTRATIVE

- First applicant: eight years and eight months in three tiers of court

- Second applicant: five years and three months (case pending)

Guiraud v. FRANCE,
29 March 2005

No particular stake

- Although the length of the trial stage seemed reasonable, in the circumstances of the case the investigation could not be deemed to have been conducted with diligence

CRIMINAL

- Ten years and three months for an investigation and three tiers of proceedings, including six years and eight months for the investigation alone

Quemar v. FRANCE,
1 February 2005

No particular stake

- Unjustified delays and periods of inactivity by both the investigating judge and the appeal court division dealing with appeals concerning investigations. For instance, the investigating judge (who was already replacing another investigating judge) took more than ten months to join the civil party complaint to the main proceedings, and almost a further year (during which no procedural steps were taken) to call a witness

CRIMINAL

Investigation:
- ten years and four months for Mrs Quemar
- ten years and two months for Mr Quemar

Fattell v. FRANCE,
27 January 2005

No particular stake

- Unjustified delay of two and a half years between registration of the applicant's appeal and the administrative appeal court's decision
- Unjustified delay of four and a half years between registration of the appeal on points of law and the decision by the Conseil d’Etat

ADMINISTRATIVE

- Fourteen years and eleven months for examination of the preliminary complaint and the seven subsequent stages in the proceedings

Schwarkmann v. FRANCE,
8 February 2005

No particular stake

- The investigating judge, who, despite four reminders, had received no response to a request for evidence to be taken on commission issued two years previously, merely repeated the request in the same terms

CRIMINAL

- The investigation lasted seven years and one month

Guez v. FRANCE,
17 May 2005

No particular stake

- Unjustified delays of:
1/ three years and seven months in the Paris administrative court for the first dismissal (between the filing of the application and the judgment determining compensation for loss of income)
2/ four years and eight months in the Paris administrative appeal court for the second dismissal (between the judgment annulling the second dismissal and the order to reinstate the applicant)
3/ eight years and six months for the subsequent compensation request (proceedings still pending).

ADMINISTRATIVE - LABOUR COURT

- Eleven years in two tiers of court
(the administrative appeal court had still not ruled on the application for annulment of the first dismissal)

Podbielski
v. POLAND,
30 October 1998

Given the then rampant inflation the applicant had an economic interest in securing adjudication of his claim within a reasonable time

- Delays caused to a large extent by legislative changes resulting from transition to free-market system and by procedural complexity

CIVIL

- Five years and six months in two tiers of court (proceedings still pending)

Bursuc v. ROMANIA,
12 October 2004

Applicant's state of health

- From June 1999 to June 2000 the court ordered successive adjournments on the ground that witnesses had failed to appear, despite the fact that it had summoned them virtually every month and threatened them with procedural penalties, which were, however, not applied.
The judicial authorities were required to show particular diligence in expediting these proceedings in view of the applicant's state of health

CRMIINAL

- Four years, of which:
- One year and nine months for the prosecution service's investigation
- Two years and three months in the first-instance court

Frydlender v. FRANCE,
27 June 2000

Loss of livelihood

- The Conseil d'Etat gave its decision almost six years after the case was brought before it, and the Government offered no explanation for this clearly excessive duration

ADMINISTRATIVE (employment dispute)

- Nine years and eight months (nearly six years in the Conseil d'Etat)

Garcia v. FRANCE,
26 September 2000

Loss of livelihood

- The proceedings were rapid in the Dijon administrative court (a little over one year) but not in the Conseil d’Etat (four years and four months)
- The applicant's continuation in business depended to a large extent on the outcome of the proceedings

ADMINISTRATIVE

- Five years and eight months in three tiers of court

Ferdandes Cascao
v. PORTUGAL,
1 February 2001

Loss of livelihood

- No essential procedural steps were taken between the date of an order by the judge and the date of the preparatory decision - this two year delay is unquestionably excessive
- In the case of disputes concerning employees' rights to be paid or to receive compensation in lieu of pay, the moment from which the reasonable time requirement of Article 6 can be deemed to have been breached must be examined with particular care

CIVIL
(employment dispute)

- Four years and seven months in one tier of court (resulted in a friendly settlement)

Farinha Martins
v. PORTUGAL,
10 July 2003

Employment dispute

- The time taken by the court of appeal to examine an interlocutory appeal considerably delayed the proceedings. It took more than two years to decide that a judgment by the labour court must be annulled

CIVIL
(employment dispute)

- Seventeen years and nine months

Kress v. FRANCE,
7 June 2001

No particular stake

- Significant delays in proceedings both at first instance and concerning the appeal on points of law
- In particular, the Conseil d'Etat, took four years and slightly more than one month to examine the applicant's appeal on points of law

ADMINISTRATIVE

- Ten years and one month

CASE

WHAT WAS AT STAKE FOR THE APPLICANT

GROUNDS FOR DECISION

TYPE OF PROCEEDINGS

LENGTH

Kuibichev
v. BULGARIA,
30 September 2004

No particular stake

-  Despite a five-month delay between two hearings of the appeal court, the inadequacy of the steps taken by the authorities to secure witnesses' presence at the hearing and a further delay of three and a half months due to inaction by the prosecution service, the proceedings, which took place in four stages and at three levels of court, with no excessive delay in the Sofia Court of Appeal or the Court of Cassation, did not exceed a reasonable time

CRIMINAL

- Four years and three months for three tiers of court (+ investigation)

Punzelt v. CZECH REPUBLIC,
25 April 2000

No particular stake

- The applicant contributed to the length of the proceedings by making numerous requests for the taking of further evidence between the filing of the indictment and the first hearing

- Over the period of November to December 1994 courts at two levels dealt with the applicant's request for exclusion of certain judges

- No period of inactivity imputable to the authorities. The case was examined twice by courts at two levels. Hearings were held at regular intervals and adjourned only in order to seek further evidence

CRIMINAL

- Three years and three months for three tiers of court

Zielinski v. POLAND,
15 February 2005

No particular stake

- The applicant contributed to the length of the proceedings (failed to reply in writing to the opposite party's observations within the fourteen day time-limit allowed, but did respond at the hearing; failed to take any steps whatsoever to expedite the proceedings; failed to submit a health certificate on time, resulting in a delay of about three months; etc.)
- The opposite party also contributed to delaying the proceedings on the merits
- An approximately eleven-month period of inactivity by the judicial authorities was due in part to the applicant's conduct. Similarly, a delay of nine to twelve months was caused by the opposite party's failure to pay a deposit on time.
- Apart from these periods of inactivity, lasting approximately one year and eight months, for which the parties and the courts bear joint responsibility, the hearings were held at regular intervals

CIVIL

- Five years and one month for three tiers of court

Dostál v.
CZECH REPUBLIC,
25 May 2004

No particular stake

Case No. 23 C 227/94
- Dealt with relatively fast. Period of inactivity from June 1994 to October 1996 imputable to the applicant (late payment of fees)
Case No. 30 C 580/95
- Numerous requests and objections on grounds of bias filed by applicant (the national courts endlessly had to transfer the case-file from one court to another, which considerably delayed the proceedings)
Case No. 30 C 581/95
- The applicant submitted several imprecise or unfounded procedural requests
Case No. 58 C 37/96
- Numerous procedural requests: the courts merely reacted to these requests, and did so without undue delay
Case No. 23 C 66/98
- Numerous procedural requests: the courts were obliged to transfer the case-file (dealt with expeditiously)

CIVIL

Case No. 23 C 227/94: Six years and six months for two tiers of court
Case No. 30 C 580/95: Seven years and two months for two tiers of court
Case No. 30 C 581/95: Seven years and two months for two tiers of court
Case No. 58 C 37/96: Five years and three months for two tiers of court
Case No. 23 C 66/98: Four years and eight months

Soner Önder
v. TURKEY,
12 July 2005

No particular stake

- No period of inactivity imputable to the national judicial authorities

CRIMINAL

- Five years and eleven months (two sets of proceedings in the State Security Court and two in the Court of Cassation)

Gergouil v FRANCE,
21 March 2000

No particular stake

- More than one year and two months in the court of appeal, and more than four months in the Court of Cassation, for the parties to file their submissions
- The proceedings before the Court of Cassation lasted two years, two months and one day: a period described as fairly long, but no period of inactivity was imputable to the authorities (the length of the proceedings in the Labour Court (five months) and the court of appeal (one year and five months) was not open to criticism.

CIVIL (employment dispute)

- Four years and three months for three tiers of court

Guichon v. FRANCE,
21 March 2000

No particular stake

- Six-month delay due to the applicant's request for adjournment of the hearing in the Labour Court. The applicant took over three months to appeal against the first-instance decision and the parties took nine months to file their submissions with the Court of Cassation.
- No significant period of inactivity imputable to the national authorities. The length of the proceedings in the Labour Court (one year and seven months), the court of appeal (one year and nine months) and the Court of Cassation (one year and eight months) was not open to criticism.

CIVIL (employment dispute)

- Five years and three months for three tiers of court

Piccolo v. ITALY,
7 November 2000

No particular stake

- Two years and two months were necessary to obtain an expert opinion, leading to an out-of-court settlement (following which there was no further dispute between the parties). This duration could be seen to be acceptable (in the light of the overall length of the proceedings).

CIVIL

- Three years and seven months for one tier of court

N.B.: Three judges issued a joint dissenting opinion172

P.G.V. v. ITALY,
7 November 2000

No particular stake

- One year and eight months for the investigation, following which 20 months elapsed before the hearing of the case. The Court held that this duration could nonetheless be seen to be acceptable if compared (as was appropriate) with the overall length of the proceedings.

CIVIL

- Three years and nine months for one tier of court

N.B.: Two judges issued a joint dissenting opinion173 

Marcotrigiano v. ITALY,
1 March 2001

Employment dispute

- Case frozen for two years and eight months (transfer of a judge): imputable to the authorities. However, the time actually taken to deal with the case was about five years and two months in two tiers of court (by signing, in 1999, a statement waiving his right to resume the proceedings in the territorially competent court the applicant showed his lack of interest in pursuing the proceedings)

CIVIL

- Five years and five months (two tiers of court)

Mangualde Pinto v. FRANCE,
9 April 2002

Employment dispute

- Successive adjournments requested by the parties led to a delay of more than one year and eight months. Delays also caused by suspension of the proceedings on the ground that the applicant had failed to appear and their subsequent resumption.

- Only two delays were imputable to the national authorities: six months for the Labour Court's adjournment of hearing the case, and seven months for consideration of the applicant's request for legal aid.
- The Court held that the overall duration of more than six years was fairly long, but that the delays could not be deemed unreasonable

CIVIL (employment dispute)

- Six years and three months

Martial Lemoine
v. FRANCE,
29 April 2003

No particular stake

- Exchange of pleadings and documents between the parties constituted a cause of delay: this took one year and one month in the Paris appeal court and one year and two months in the second appeal court although the judge responsible for preparing the case for hearing had laid down a time-table and set a closing date for the preparatory stage.
- The applicant's slowness in filing his initial submissions with the Paris appeal court and the parties' request to adjourn the closing date of the preparatory stage in the second appeal court delayed the proceedings by nearly eight months.
- The Court held that the overall duration (seven years and eight months) was fairly long but the time lapses attributable to the authorities could not be deemed unreasonable

CIVIL

- Seven years and eight months including:
- one year and ten months at first instance, and one year and eight months on appeal,
- one year and nine months in the court of cassation
- two years in the second appeal court

Mõtsnik v. ESTONIA,
29 April 2003

Applicant detained pending trial

- Hearings adjourned on several occasions because of the absence of the applicant or his counsel
- Some procedural delays not imputable to the applicant, but the overall length of the proceedings was deemed reasonable

CRIMINAL

- Four years and six months but the Court had no jurisdiction ratione materiae to deal with the proceedings in three levels of court

- The period to be considered was therefore two years and seven months

Liadis v. GREECE,
27 May 2004

No particular stake

- All the adjournments in the first-instance proceedings were caused by the applicant's failure to appear. In addition, the applicant was consistently extremely slow to request a new date for a hearing, culminating in a delay of over twenty years.
- The applicant showed no interest in resuming the proceedings with the result that the court had no leeway to act (under Articles 106 and 108 of the Code of Civil Procedure control of the course of civil proceedings lies entirely with the parties). 
- No period of inactivity or unjustified delay was attributable to the authorities. Each time the applicant requested a new date for a hearing, the court was quick to react (and it delivered its judgment one year and three months after the relevant request). The proceedings in the court of appeal lasted one year and two months.

CIVIL

- Twenty-one years and eleven months (including more than fourteen years and nine months subsequent to 20 November 1985, the date on which Greece recognised the right of individual petition)

Patrianakos v. GREECE,
15 July 2004

No particular stake

- The parties failed to appear (this was the cause of all the adjournments in the first-instance proceedings) and were consistently excessively slow to request a new date for a hearing. This delayed the proceedings by nearly fourteen years.
- The parties showed no interest in resuming the proceedings in the first-instance court and, pursuant to Articles 106 and 108 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the court of appeal had no leeway to act.
- The applicant delayed lodging an appeal on points of law for one year and more than two months.
- No period of inactivity or undue delay was imputable to the authorities:
- each time the parties requested a new date for a hearing, the courts were very quick to react
- the first-instance court delivered its judgment seven months after a new date had been given for a hearing
- the proceedings in the court of appeal lasted one year
- the Court of Cassation gave its decision after one year and four months
The Court held that these periods were far from unreasonable.

CIVIL

- Twenty-two years and three months for three tiers of court, including almost fifteen years subsequent to 20 November 1985, the date on which Greece recognised the right of individual petition.

Wroblewski v. POLAND,
1 December 2005

No particular stake

- Having failed to consult the case-file within the time-limit set by the public prosecutor, the applicant requested that the indictment be sent back to the prosecutor for rectification only after the investigation had been closed and a date set for the trial: this delayed the investigation, and hence the hearing of the case, by about four months.
- The Government provided no explication for a period of inactivity of about eleven months for which the judicial authorities were held responsible. However, apart from this failure to deal rapidly with the proceedings, the authorities did not remain inactive and showed the required diligence.

CRIMINAL

- Five years for one tier of court

Vendittelli v. ITALY,
18 July 1994

No particular stake

- Although legitimate, the two adjournments requested by the applicant caused a delay of about six months (which was fairly substantial given the proceedings' overall duration of fourteen months).
- The first-instance court took eleven months to serve its decision on the applicant. However, the applicant had attended the hearing and could reasonably have been expected to obtain a copy of the judgment of his own initiative.
- The appeal court's decision was not served at all, but this did not affect the length of the proceedings since it consisted in taking note of an amnesty decree.

CRIMINAL

- Four years and five months for two tiers of court

Cesarini v. ITALY,
12 October 1992

No particular stake

- For nearly two years the applicant remained inactive and took no steps to lodge an appeal (allegedly in order to seek an amicable settlement).
- Several periods of inactivity attributable to the authorities: the first-instance court waited seventeen months before delivering its judgment, and the court of appeal twenty months.
- However "having regard to the fact that the case came before three different courts and to the friendly settlement, the delays that occurred do not appear substantial enough for the total length of the proceedings to be able to be regarded as excessive."

CIVIL

- Six years and eight months for three tiers of court

1 See document CEPEJ(2004)19.


2 SATURN (Study and Analysis of judicial Time Use Research Network)

3 However, the European Court applies Article 6§1 to the investigation stage of criminal proceedings


4 C.H. Van Rhee, “The laws delay: an introduction”, in: “The law’s delay: essays in undue delay in civil litigation”, Intersentia, 2004

5 Entry into force: 1 December 2009.

6 Article 111 of the Italian Constitution

7 F. Sudre, “la dimension internationale and européenne des libertés and droits fondamentaux”, in: Libertés and droits fondamentaux, edited by R. Cabrillac, M-A Frison-Roche and T. Revet, Dalloz, 2004, p. 33 to 51.

8 J-C Soyer and Mr de Salvia article 6, in “Convention européenne des droits de l’homme commentaire article par article” edited by L-E Pettiti, Economica p. 244

9 Appendix 1


10 Eg in the case of Burdov v. Russia (No. 2), decision of 4 May 2009.

11 In the Intiba v. Turkey judgment of 24 May 2005, § 54, the Court stated that although Article 6 of the Convention required proceedings to be conducted with due speed, it also embodied the more general principle of good administration of justice (judgment in French only). See also Boddaer v. Belgium judgment of 12 October 1992.

12 Marien v. Belgium judgment of 3 November 2005 (French only)

13 Neumeister v. Austria judgment, 1968


14 Judgments Zanghi v. Italy, 19 February 1991; X v. France, 31 March 1992; A.V v. France, 2 April 1994.

15 Akdivar and others V. Turkey, 16 September 1996, § 65, Compendium of Judgments and Decisions 1996 IV, p. 1210, and Aksoy v. Turkey, 18 December 1996, § 51 Compendium of Judgments and Decisions 1996 VI, p. 2275.

16 "Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in this Convention are violated shall have an effective remedy before a national authority notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity."


17 Kudla judgment § 152

18 V. S. Guinchard, “Procès équitable”, Répertoire Procédure Civile, Dalloz, March 2011, p. 94, No. 347.

19 R. Bindels, “L’influence du droit d’être jugé dans un délai raisonnable prévu par l’article 6 § 1 de la Convention européenne des droits de l’homme sur l’administration de la justice civile belge”, in Annales de Droit de Louvain, Vol. 62, 2002, nos. 3 and 4, pp. 349 to 428.

20 see also the Tomé Mota v. Portugal decision, no. 32082/96

21 See also I.S v. Slovakia of 4 April 2000, §31


22 See also, in connection with the right to be heard within a reasonable time, Cocchiarella v. Italy; Giuseppe Mostacciuolo v. Italy (No. 1); Musci v. Italy; Giuseppina and Orestina Procaccini v. Italy; Riccardi Pizzati v. Italy; Ernestina Zullo v. Italy; Apicella v. Italy.

23 The Italian Court of Cassation did, however, effect a case-law reversal in four cassation judgments issued on 27 November 2003 (Nos. 1338, 1339, 1340 and 1341), in which it asserted that “the case-law of the Strasbourg Court must be taken into account by Italian courts in applying Law No. 89/2001 (…). Even though the determination of the non-patrimonial damages as effected by the Appeal Court in pursuance of Article 2 of Law No. 89/2001 is by nature based on equity, it must take place in an environment defined by law, because reference must be made to the amounts granted in similar cases by the Strasbourg Court, from which it may vary but only as far as is reasonable”.

24 Re. the situation in Italy, see the recent Committee of Ministers resolution CM/ResDH(2009)42 of 19 March 2009.

25 It is the same before administrative courts: see Broca and Texier-Micault v. France of 21 October 2003


26 Obs. N. Fricero, Procedures No. 11, November 2009, Comm. 363.

27 Cf. Guide to Good Practices, op. cit., No. 107, pp. 24 and 25.

28 Judgment Djangozov v. Bulgaria, 8 July 2004.

29 Sablon v. Belgium judgment of 10 April 2001 (French only).


30 Final decision of admissibility, Hervouet C. France, of July 2 1997.

31 Corigliano v. Italy, 10 December 1982, §42

32 Cited in Versini v. France, 10 July 2001


33 Judgment Ciricosta and Viola v. Italy, 4 December 1995.

34 Patrianakos v. Greece judgment of 15 July 2004. On the emergence of a true duty of preparation of a case for trial in the case law of the European Court. See below

35 Klamecki v. Poland judgment of 28 March 2002

36 Dosta v. Czech Republic judgment of 25 May 2004

37 Buchholz v. Germany judgment of 6 May 1981

38 Savvidou v. Greece judgment of 1 August 2000

39 Hadjidjanis v. Greece judgment of 28 April 2005, French only.

40 Dachar v. France judgment of 10 October 2000

41 Corigliano v. Italy judgment of 10 December 1982.


42 Obs. N Fricero, JCP G No. 16, 15 April 2009, II, 10070.

43 Eight years and eleven months, in two tiers of courts, since recognition of the right of individual application.

44 The right of tax pre-emption has since been abolished.

45 Judgment Hüseyin Ertürk v. Turkey of 22 September 2005, §32 (French only).


46 Obs. N. Fricero, Procedures No. 11, November 2009, comm. 363.

47 Mehmet Ozel and other v. Turkey judgment of 26 April 2005, § 38 (French only), see also the following judgments: Hatun Güven and others v. Turkey of 8 February 2005, Meryem Güven and others v. Turkey of 22 February 2005, and the judgments on Obermeier v. Austria of 28 June 1990, §72, and Karakaya v. France of 26 August 1994, §30.

48 Kurt Nielsen v. Denmark judgment of 15 February 2000

49 For critical positions of the French state: S. Guinchard, "Fair trial"Civil Procedure Directory, op. cit, p.90, No. 330

50 But see also the judgements X v. France of 31-03-1992, Vallée v. France of 26-04-1994, Karaya v. France of 26-08-1994, Paillot v. France of 22-04-1998, F.E v. France of 30-10-1998, Kritt v. France of 19 March 2002 Beaumer v. France of 8 June 2004


51 Obs. P. Coursier, JCP, No. 16, 20 April 2010, 1164.

52 Appendix 2

53 In the Lechner and Hess v. Austria judgment of 23 April 1987, the Court observed that "the applicants did suffer, on account of the consequences of the length of the proceedings, some loss of real opportunities which justifies an award of just satisfaction in the present case".

54 In October 2006 the following states have also ratified it: Albania, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine.


55 Obs. G. Decocq, Contrats Concurrence Consommation, No. 2, February 2011, comm. No. 40.

56 The many such cases include the Assymomitis v. Greece judgment of 14 October 2004

57 See the Eckle v Federal Republic of ’Germany judgment of 15 July 1982 and the Reinhardt and Slimane-Kaïd v. France judgment of 31 March 1998.


58 See also judgment Jorge Nina Jorge and others v. Portugal of 19 February 2004.

59 See also Farnage S.A. v. France of 13 July 2006, § 39, and Hellborg v. Sweden of 28 February 2006, § 59.

60 See also the Jorge Nina Jorge and others v. Portugal judgment of 19 February 2004.

61 In this case, the Court also took account of what was at stake for the applicant.

62 Yagci and Sargin v. Turkey judgment of 8 June 1995.

63 Appendix 1

64 Mori v. Italy judgment of 19 February 1991


65 Judgment Guincho v. Portugal of 10 July 1984.

66 Eg proceedings lasting over 17 years 10 months in which no judgment on the merits was ever issued (Roselli v. Italy, 15 February 2000), or a case which is still pending at the court of first instance eight years 8 months after the commencement of proceedings (Marques Gomes Galo v. Portugal, 23 November 1999).

67 Guincho v. Portugal judgment of 10 July 1984

68 Sylva Pontes v. Portugal judgment of 23 March 1984


69 N. Fricero, Garanties de nature procédurale : équité, publicité, célérité et laïcité, in Dorit et pratique de la procédure civile, Dalloz action, 2009-2010, No. 212.136, p. 562.

70 Guide to Good Practice accompanying Recommendation CM/Rec(20103 on effective remedies for excessive length of proceedings, p. 5, note 13.

71 Zappia v. Italy judgment of 26 September 1996


72 Obs. N. Fricero, Procédures, No. 7, July 2010, comm. 271.

73 Corigliano v. Italy judgment of 10 December 1982.


74 For an analysis of the method of supervision of the enforcement of judgments by the Committee of Ministers and the various decisions taken by this Council of Europe body, see E. Lambert Abdelgawad, The Execution of Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, annual report, in Revue trimestrielle des droits de l’homme, 2006, pp. 669 ff, and 2007, pp. 647 ff.

75 See also the inadmissibility decisions, Scwengel v. Germany of 2 March 2000 and Kuna v. Germany of 10 April 2001

76 Kuna v. Germany decision of 10 April 2001, Schwengel v. Germany decision of 2 March 2000


77 Judgment of 12 June 2001.

78 Guincho v. Portugal judgment of 10 July 1984

79 Resolution ResDH (95) 82 concerning the Zanghi v. Italy case


80 Timar and others v. Hungary, Annotated Agenda of the 922nd meeting of the Committee of Ministers, April 2005, CM/Del/OJ/(2005) 922, vol I

81 Diana v. Italy judgment of 27 February 1992: violation for proceedings lasting 11 years and 11 months before two levels of courts in a relatively complex case

82 2007 Annual Report of the Committee of Ministers, pp.83 and 84

83 2008 Annual Report of the Committee of Ministers, pp. 122 and 123.

84 2007 Annual Report of the Committee of Ministers, pp. 94 and 95.

85 Ibid., pp 100 and 101.

86 2010 Annual Report of the Committee of Ministers, p. 137.

87 2009 Annual Report of the Committee of Ministers, p. 121.

88 2007 Annual Report of the Committee of Ministers, p. 83.

89 S. Guinchard, L’ambition raisonnée d’une justice apaisée, submitted to the Minister for Justice in July 2008.

90 Orientation and Programming Law for Justice, 9 September 2002.

91 Eg such inactivity may be explained by a request for international judicial assistance.

92 Rego Chaves Fernandes v. Portugal judgment of 21 March 2002; See also Condé v. Portugal judgment of 23 March 2000

93 Piron v. France judgment of 14 November 2000 (French only)

94 Portington v. Greece judgment of 23 September 1998


95 Judgment of 27 June 2002

96 2010 Annual Report of the Committee of Ministers, p. 135.

97 Also following judgments : Pavlyulynets c. Ukraine judgment of 6 September 2005, Carstea


98 Available on ECHR website: http://www.ehcr.coe.int/ehcr

99 Obermeir v. Austria judgment of 28 June 1990


100 Volf v. Czech Republic judgment of 6 September 2005.

101 2010 Annual Report of the Committee of Ministers, p. 131.

102 Resolution ResDH(2005)60 concerning the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Horvat and 9 other cases against Croatia

103 The report of the Task Force “Time management of justice systems: a Northern Europe


104 In France an executive authority which fails to introduce implementing regulations may be fined by the administrative courts until it takes the necessary steps, but such coercive fines are imposed only in cases where the introduction of regulations has already been delayed ( Conseil d’Etat judgment of 28 July 2000, Association France. Nature Environnement)

105 2008 Annual Report of the Committee of Ministers, p. 124.

106 2009 Annual Report of the Committee of Ministers, p. 121.

107 See also, Papageorgiou v. Greece judgment of 22 October 1997 (7 months strike).

108 Dumas v. France judgment of 23 September 2003.

109 Nuutinen v. Finland judgmet of 27 June 2000: §§114 & 118.

110 Vocaturo v. Italy judgment of 24 May 1991

111 “Procédure civile chronique”, Nathalie Fricero, Pierre Julien, in Dalloz, No. 8 p. 546.

112 See also: Molin Insaat v. Turkey judgment of 11 January 2005

113 Judgment Zappia v. Italy of 26 September 1996, § 25.

114 Arrêt Sundov c. Croatie, du 13 avril 2006.

115 Source: List of General measures adopted to prevent new violations of the European Convention on Human Rights. Stock-taking of measures reported to the Committee of Ministers in its control of the execution of judgments and decisions under the Convention (updated May 2006, p. 155).


116 Baraona v. Portugal judgment of 8 July 1987

117 Duclos v. France judgment of 17 December 1996

118 Volesky v. Czech Republic judgment of 29 June 2004, §105.

119 Bock v. Germany judgment, 23 March 1989

120 Resolution ResDH(2005)63 of 18 July 2005 concerning the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights in 58 cases against France (see Appendix to this Resolution) with respect to excessive length of certain proceedings concerning civil rights and obligations or the determination of criminal charges before the administrative courts. See also 2008 Annual Report of the Committee of Ministers, p.88

121 Final Resolution ResDH (2004) 77 on the G.S v. Austria case

122 Lechner and Hess v. Austria judgment of 23 April 1987

123 Violation of Article 6§1 for proceedings lasting thirteen years and three months in a complex case of expropriation with an appeal on points of law still pending (three levels of court)

124 Mitkulic v. Croatia judgment of 7 February 2002

125 Source: List of General measures adopted to prevent new violations of the European Convention on Human Rights. Stock-taking of measures reported to the Committee of Ministers in its control of the execution of judgments and decisions under the Convention (Application of former Articles 32 and 54 and of Article 46)

126 Resolution ResDH(2005)60 concerning the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Horvat and 9 other cases against Croatia (see appendix I) adopted on 18 July 2005

127 Resolution ResDH(2005)60 idem.

128 Access To Justice - Interim Report to the Lord Chancellor on the civil justice system in England and Wales, June 1995

129 Re. these reforms and an appraisal, see M. Haravon, “Dix années de réforme de la procédure civile anglaise: révolte ou revolution”, R.I.D.C., No. 4-2004, p. 825; “Quel procès civil en 2010? Regards comparé sur l’accès à la justice civile en Angleterre, aux Etats-Unis et en France”, R.I.D.C., No. 4-2010.

130 Review of Litigation Costs, Final Report (December 2009).

131 2010 Annual Report of the Committee of Ministers, p. 131, and 2007 Annual Report of the Committee of Ministers, p. 80.

132 Information report no. 17 of the French Senate of 12 October 2005 on accelerated criminal proceedings by Senator François Zocchetto, and Survey of comparative legislation No 146-May 2005- accelerated criminal proceedings - See website: http://www.senat.fr

133 Mattocia v. Italy judgment of 25 July 2000

134 Salapa v. Poland judgment of 19 December 2002


135 See also the Neumeister v. Austria judgment, idem, §21

136 Kritt v. France judgment of 19 March 2002 (French only)

137 Alberto Sanchez v. Spain judgment of 16 November. 2004


138 Clinique Mozart SARL v. France judgment of 8 June 2004

139 See eg Grand Chamber judgments Broniowski v. Poland of 22 June 2004, Burdov v. Russia (No. 2) of 15 January 2009, Ivanov v. Ukraine of 15 October 2009, and the above-mentioned Italian cases giving rise to several Grand Chamber judgments on 29 March 2006 (see Part I. A. above).

140 Recommendation (2004) 6 of the Committee of Ministers of 12 May 2004

141 CM/Rec(2010)3, adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 24 February 2010 at the 1077th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies.

142 We should also mention the report of the Venice Commission (Doc. CDL-AD(2006)036rev).

143 Fourth information report CM/Inf/DH (2005) 31 of 6 June 2005.

144 See the aforementioned Venice Commission report, doc. CDL-AD(2006)03rev., §§ 69-87: http://www.venice.coe.int/docs/2006/CDL-AD%282006%29036-en.asp

145 Guide to Good Practice, No. 112, p. 25.

146 Op. cit., § 240, incorporated into the Guide to Good Practice, No. 114, p. 26.

147 For a study of this question, see the aforementioned Venice Commission report

148 2007 Annual Report of the Committee of Ministers, p. 79.

149 For a more detailed account, see the 2009 Annual Report of the Committee of Ministers, p. 121.

150 Decision of 6 September 2001

151 Decision of 27 March 2003

152 See also the 2008 Annual Report of the Committee of Ministers, p. 125.

153 Re. the evolution of the Court’s case-law on the situation in Croatia, cf. Guide to Good Practice Nos. 60-62, pp 14 and 15.

154 See Resolution ResDH(2005)67 of 18 July 2005 concerning the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Jóri and 18 other cases against the Slovak Republic

155 See Guide to Good Practice, No. 93-96, pp. 22 and 23. For an overall assessment of supervision of execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights by Slovakia, see the 2010 Annual Report of the Committee of Ministers., pp. 142 and 143.

156 2007 Annual Report of the Committee of Ministers, p. 94.

157 Grand Chamber judgment in the case of Sürmeli v. Germany, 8 June 2006, § 138

158 Aforementioned Dosta v. Czech Republic judgment, 25 May 2004: an interesting judgment in this connection as eight sets of civil procedures were lodged by the same applicant in simple cases examined by the ECHR.


159 Le Bechennec v. France judgment of 28 March 2006.

160 See in this connection the CEPEJ Framework Programme “A new objective for judicial systems: the processing of each case within an optimum and foreseeable timeframe” of 11 June 2004, Line of Action 10: “defi ning priorities in case management”, p. 15.


161 Union Alimentaria Sanders SA v. Spain judgment of 7 July 1989.

162 See CEPEJ report “Time management of justice systems: a Northern Europe study”(CEPEJ(2006)14).

163 “the investigating judge concluded the preliminary judicial investigation […] four years and seven months after the applicant was fi rst questioned as a suspect. This would appear to be a disturbingly long period of time.[…]. In the circumstances, it is particularly necessary for the length of this period to be convincingly justifi ed.”(§ 51) Hozee v. Netherlands judgment of 22 May 1998 (no violation in a complex criminal case).

164 The remainder being procedures both before the ordinary court and the administrative court, as well as one procedure before a constitutional court.


165 2006 Annual Report, pp. 107 and 108 ; available on the Court website http://www.echr.coe.int/echr

166 2007 Annual Report, pp. 144 and 145.

167 2008 Annual Report, pp. 134 and 135.

168 2009 Annual Report, pp. 146 and 147.

169 2010 Annual Report, pp 149-151.

170 One of the selected applications for the Crystal scales of justice award in 2006 intented to reduce the length of proceedings: the fi rst Instance court of Torino (Italie) “Programme Strasbourg”First experience of case management in Italy to combat backlogs and speed up the treatment of civil proceedings.

171 See the aforementionned CEPEJ report report “Time management of justice systems: a Northern Europe study”(CEPEJ(2006)14).


172 "Even though a period of three years and seven months for a single tier of court, in a case of no great complexity, can in principle be regarded as acceptable, we note that this lapse of time has been calculated over a period running only until July 1997, when the applicant indicated that he had reached an arrangement with the respondent. However, the proceedings in fact continued well beyond that date, and would seem to have been still pending, at first instance, in September 1999, more than five years and ten months after their inception. In our opinion, this is clearly excessive." (judges Tulkens, Bratza and Costa - unofficial translation)

173 "In our opinion a period of three years and nine months for a single tier of proceedings, in a case of no particular complexity, goes beyond what is reasonable and hence constitutes a breach of the requirements of Article 6§1 of the Convention. In particular we note that there was an unexplained interval of twenty months between the parties' submissions and the Milan court's judgment; in addition a further five months was necessary for the judgment to be filed at the registry." (judges Tulkens and Bratza - unofficial translation)