European Court of Human Rights declares inadmissible two length-of-proceedings applications
On 3 February 2022, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) declared inadmissible two applications concerning the length of proceedings for damages in a criminal case.
The applicants were complainants in criminal proceedings concerning the WinCapita investment club. They already filed their claims for damages in connection with the pre-trial investigation but did not identify the addressees of and the grounds for the claims until the separate proceedings for damages began.
The District Court confirmed a settlement whereby one of the persons identified by the applicants was ordered to pay damages to them. In the court, the applicants claimed compensation for prolonged judicial proceedings. The District Court considered that the case had been exceptionally extensive and complex, and that the applicants had had no means to accelerate the proceedings. However, the sums of compensation claimed by the applicants were not particularly high. Calculating that the proceedings had begun when the applicants presented their claims for damages to it, the District Court found that the duration of the proceedings of approximately three years had not been excessive, and rejected the applicants’ claims for compensation.
The Court of Appeal upheld the ruling of the District Court. The Supreme Administrative Court refused the applicants leave to appeal in the matter.
The European Court of Human Rights held that the period for the purposes of calculating the length of proceedings had started to run from the moment when the applicants identified the persons from whom they claimed damages. Usually, the duration of proceedings is also considered to include the phase of executing the judgment. In this case, however, as the applicants had not sought execution through the normal procedure but before the Legal Register Centre, the execution phase could not be included in the duration of proceedings. The ECtHR found that, considering the circumstances of the case, the durations of slightly more than three years thus calculated were not unreasonable. The ECtHR considered the applications manifestly ill-founded and declared them inadmissible.
The decisions are available on the ECtHR website:
Mia Spolander, Legal Counsellor, Unit for Human Rights Courts and Conventions, tel. + 358 295 350666
The Foreign Ministry’s email addresses are in the format firstname.lastname@example.org.