quill.gif (3183 bytes) Access to Courts:  European Union Cases

European Community Law

  • Ahmet Sadik v. Greece - conviction of politician belonging to Muslim community of Western Thrace for disturbing peace during election campaign by distributing leaflets referring to that community as "Turkish" -- Applicant deceased - widow and children have legitimate moral interest in obtaining ruling.
  • Oerlemans v. The Netherlands - Access to Court: Government designated as a protected natural site an area of land, including land belonging to applicant -- Compliance: whether the applicant was given the opportunity to challenge the
    lawfulness of the order
  • Philis v. Greece - Right of access to a court was not absolute, but might be subject to limitations, since the right by its very nature called for regulation by the State. However, limitations ought not to restrict or reduce the access left to the individual in such a way as to impair the very essence of the right
  • Ankerl v. Switzerland - spouse of party to civil trial unable to be heard on oath as a witness -- Requirement of "equality of arms" applies also to litigation in which private interests are opposed and implies that each party must be afforded a reasonable opportunity to present his case, including his evidence, under conditions that do not place him at a substantial disadvantage
  • J.J. v. the Netherlands - plaintiff in taxation proceedings in Supreme Court unable to reply to advisory opinion of the Advocate-General --- Applicant’s appeal against fiscal penalty declared inadmissible on sole ground that court registration fee --- appeal on points of law-- right to adversarial proceedings
  • Twalib v. Greece - lack of adequate time and facilities for preparation of defence during criminal trial and absence of legal aid in cassation proceedings
  • Mangov. v. Greece  - The right of access to courts in civil matters may be infringed upon where an alien, whose civil rights in a Convention state are in dispute, is prevented from entering that State.   However,  the requirement that applicant fill out a detailed visa form for entry into a foreign country did not  prevent him from duly applying for the visa, and thus he had not been confronted with a formal refusal of leave to enter the state.  
  • Lalljee v. United Kingdom - Matters of immigration are within the discretion of the competent public authority.  Thus, a decision to refuse an applicant a special voucher for entry to the U.K. did not involve a violation of his right of access to the courts.
  • Olsson v. Sweden - Reunion with children in care.  Where applicants' requests for termination of public care of their children lasted five years in respect to one child and approximately six years for the other two, authorities did not always proceed with proper diligence and the total duration was excessive.  Applicants' proceedings concering their request for the return of their children, which lasted thirteen months, was not excessive.
  • Kremzow v. Austria - Where the applicant was not allowed to be personally present at the Supreme Court's hearings of his appeals against sentence, there was a violation of the right to a fair trial and the right to defend oneself in person. The mere fact that a draft judgment was prepared and discussed prior to the hearing of applicant's case by the competent Supreme Court chamber does not make the proceedings unfair. Where the Attorney-General's position paper, on which the Supreme Court's judgment was based to a large extent, was served on defense only three weeks before the hearing, although its communication had been requested much earlier, a violation of the right to a fair hearing had not occurred
  • Dobbertin v. France - A violation of the right to a speedy hearing within a reasonable time by a tribunal occurred where the proceedings, which lasted 12 years and 10 months, had been prolonged by the abolition of the courts originally seised of the case; by a delay in the determination of two procedural issues; and by the fact that the applicant made numerous appeals on points of law to remedy certain irregularities attributable to the judicial authorities.
  • Delta v. France - Conviction based solely on testimony of policeman who had taken victims' statements (victims opted not to appear at trial), where neither the applicant nor his counsel had adequate opportunity to examine witnesses whose evidence was taken into account by the courts responsible for trying the facts, violated the applicant's right to a examine witnesses against him.
  • Eckle v. Federal Republic of Germany - A government may not, in relation to its responsibility to adjudicate claims in a reasonable period of time, seek refuge behind the possible failings of their own domestic law.  The competent authorities did not act with the necessary diligence and expedition. 
  • Hauschildt v. Denmark - The mere fact that a trial judge or an appeal judge has also made pre-trial decisions in the case, including those concerning detention on remand, cannot be held as in itself justifying fears as to his impartiality. If, however, based on the particular facts, the impartiality of the courts in question was capable of appearing to be open to doubt, then an applicants' fears in this respect can be considered objectively justified.
  • Kamasinski v. Austria - Competent national authorities are required to intervene in order to make sure defendants represented by legal aid receive effective counsel only if a failure by legal aid counsel to provide effective representation is manifest or sufficiently brought to their attention in some way.  The absence of a written translation of the judgement does not in itself entail a violation of the right to a fair trial.  An appeal court's unilateral inquiry to obtain evidence from the presiding judge of the trial court, without providing the defendant with an opportunity to comment, constituted a violation of the principle guarantees of a judicial superior.
  • Oerlemans v. The Netherlands - Government's decision to designate applicant's land a nature preservation, thus permitting farming but subjecting some activities to regulation, and the subsequent adjudication of a challenge to this practice by a Administrative Disputes Division whose decision was not susceptible to review, constituted a violation of the applicant's right to a fair hearing.
  • Philis v. Greece - The absence of a right of access to a court permitting the applicant to lodge with the competent courts his actions for remuneration and any other action relating thereto for a repudiated contract, and his capacity to participate in the proceedings being limited to a third party  intervention, indicates the applicant's lack of effective control over the proceedings concerning his claims.
  • Tomasi v. France - Two periods of delay lasting over a year caused by the judicial authorities and not the accused constituted a violation of the applicant's right to trial within a reasonable time.  Where responsibility for the delays lies essentially with the judicial authorities, particularly where the public prosecutor allowed more than a year and a half to elapse before asking that a competent investigating authority be designated, the length of the proceedings were not reasonable.
  • Hoang v. France - The presumption of innocence specifically and the concept of a fair trial generally is not violated where the defendant has the opportunity to rebut a presumption of guilt in criminal legislation with evidence to the contrary. 
  • Ruiz-Mateos v. Spain - The national authorities delayed the proceedings twice by a total of 39 months when constitutional questions were under examination and, despite attaching weight to the special features of constitutional proceedings, the proceedings exceeded a reasonable time.  The applicants were not given free access to the observations of other participants on the substance of the constitutional proceedings and did not have a genuine opportunity to comment on those observations in contrast to the respondents.  Thus applicans were therefore denied a fair trial