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(Application no. 27459/09)
22 January 2013
This judgment is final but it may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of Demiroğlu v. Turkey,
The European Court of Human Rights (Second Section), sitting as a Committee composed of:
Dragoljub Popović, President,
Paulo Pinto de Albuquerque,
Helen Keller, judges,
and Françoise Elens-Passos, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 11 December 2012,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
1. The case originated in an application (no. 27459/09) against the Republic of Turkey lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by a Turkish national, Ms Nezaket Demiroğlu (“the applicant”), on 11 May 2009.
2. The applicant was represented by Mr Şükrü Tuncel, a lawyer practising in Kastamonu. The Turkish Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent.
3. On 2 November 2010 the application was communicated to the Government.
4. The Government objected to the examination of the application by a Committee. After having considered the Government’s objection, the Court rejects it.
THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
5. The applicant was born in 1960 and lives in Kastamonu. Her husband died in a traffic accident.
6. On 7 June 2000 she instituted compensation proceedings before the Tosya Civil Court of General Jurisdiction. In the course of the proceeding eight expert reports were concluded.
7. On 9 November 2006 the proceedings before the civil court finalized the case in favour of the applicant.
8. On 11 February 2008 the Court of Cassation quashed the decision.
9. The applicant requested rectification.
10. On 13 October 2008 the Court of Cassation admitted the request for rectification and upheld the decision in favour of the applicant.
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION
11. The applicant complained that the length of the proceedings had been incompatible with the “reasonable time” requirement, laid down in Article 6 § 1 of the Convention, which reads as follows:
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ..., everyone is entitled to a ... hearing within a reasonable time by a ... tribunal...”
12. The Government contested that argument.
13. The period to be taken into consideration began on 7 June 2000 and ended on 13 October 2008, thus continued for eight years and four months for two levels of jurisdiction.
14. The Court notes that this complaint is not manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 (a) of the Convention. It further notes that it is not inadmissible on any other grounds. It must therefore be declared admissible.
15. 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 applicant and the relevant authorities and what was at stake for the applicant in the dispute (see, among many other authorities Daneshpayeh v. Turkey, no. 21086/04, § 28, 16 July 2009).
16. Having examined all the material submitted to it, the Court considers that the Government have not put forward any fact or argument capable of persuading it to reach a different conclusion in the present case. Having regard to its case-law on the subject, the Court considers that in the instant case the length of the proceedings was excessive and failed to meet the “reasonable time” requirement.
17. There has accordingly been a breach of Article 6 § 1.
II. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 1 OF PROTOCOL NO. 1 OF THE CONVENTION
18. The applicant claims without invoking any particular provision of the Convention that the amount awarded lost its value due to the length of the proceedings. This complaint must be considered under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1
19. The Government contested that argument.
20. The Court notes that this complaint is linked to the one examined above and must therefore likewise be declared admissible.
21. Having regard to its finding under Article 6 § 1 (see paragraphs 15-17 above), the Court considers that it is not necessary to examine whether, in this case, there has been a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (see Zanghì v. Italy, judgment of 19 February 1991, Series A no. 194-C, p. 47, § 23).
III. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION
22. 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.”
23. The applicant claimed 100,000 euros (EUR) in respect of pecuniary and EUR 100,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage.
24. The Government contested these claims.
25. The Court does not discern any causal link between the violation found and the pecuniary damage alleged; it therefore rejects this claim. On the other hand, it awards the applicant EUR 4,200 in respect of non-pecuniary damage.
B. Costs and expenses
26. The applicant did not claim any amount under this head.
C. Default interest
27. 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 there has been a violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention;
3. Holds that there is no need to examine the complaint under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1;
(a) That the respondent State is to pay the applicant, within three months, EUR 4,200 (four thousand and two hundred euros) plus any tax that may be chargeable, in respect of non-pecuniary damage;
(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;
5. Dismisses the remainder of the applicant’s claim for just satisfaction.
Done in English, and notified in writing on 22 January 2013, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Françoise Elens-Passos Dragoljub Popovic
Deputy Registrar President