2017/11/29 - 30 Cdo 1273/2016 (summary)

Judgement of the Supreme Court of 29 November 2017, Ref. No. 30 Cdo 1273/2016

(Satisfaction, unreasonable length of proceedings, limitation, right to a fair hearing within a reasonable time)

The applicant sought compensation for non-pecuniary damage resulting from unreasonable length of criminal proceedings and subsequent misdemeanour proceedings in which she claimed damages. The criminal proceedings in question began in 2010. In 2012, the court ruled that the act was not a criminal offense and therefore referred the matter to the administrative authorities. In January 2013, misdemeanour proceedings were suspended and the applicant was referred to civil proceedings. Nevertheless, she has never filed a civil lawsuit. The claim was only preliminarily discussed by the administrative authorities in the proceedings until November 2013, and in December, the applicant filed an action for compensation for non-pecuniary damage caused by the duration of the proceedings. The appellate court while referring to the expiry of the six-month limitation period dismissed the action.

The Supreme Court has dealt with the question of the relationship between the criminal and the misdemeanour proceedings in relation to the right of the injured party to satisfaction due to the unreasonable length of proceedings. It concluded that also the injured party who has joined the criminal proceedings with a claim for compensation has the right to a reasonable length of proceedings under Article 6 (1) of the Convention on Human Rights. This also applies when the prosecution ended with the referral of the case to the misdemeanour proceedings. It further noted that both criminal and misdemeanour proceedings should be perceived as sole proceedings and the right to compensation for non-pecuniary damage caused by the unreasonable length as a single claim. Finally, the limitation period has not yet expired as it would have begun running from the moment when the proceedings as a whole ended.