COURT (PLENARY)

CASE OF GOLDER v. THE UNITED KINGDOM

21 February 1975

 

 

AS TO THE LAW

ON THE ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 PARA. 1 (art. 6-1)

23. Paragraphs 73, 99 and 110 of the Commission's report indicate that the Commission consider unanimously that there was a violation of Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1). The Government disagree with this opinion.

24. Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) provides:

"In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law. Judgment shall be pronounced publicly but the press and public may be excluded from all or part of the trial in the interests of morals, public order or national security in a democratic society, where the interests of juveniles or the protection of the private life of the parties so require, or to the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in special circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice."

25. In the present case the Court is called upon to decide two distinct questions arising on the text cited above:

(i) Is Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) limited to guaranteeing in substance the right to a fair trial in legal proceedings which are already pending, or does it in addition secure a right of access to the courts for every person wishing to commence an action in order to have his civil rights and obligations determined?

(ii) In the latter eventuality, are there any implied limitations on the right of access or on the exercise of that right which are applicable in the present case?

 

A. On the "right of access"

26. The Court recalls that on 20 March 1970 Golder petitioned the Home Secretary for permission to consult a solicitor with a view to bringing a civil action for libel against prison officer Laird and that his petition was refused on 6 April (paragraphs 16 and 18 above).

While the refusal of the Home Secretary had the immediate effect of preventing Golder from contacting a solicitor, it does not at all follow from this that the only issue which can arise in the present case relates to correspondence, to the exclusion of all matters of access to the courts.

Clearly, no one knows whether Golder would have persisted in carrying out his intention to sue Laird if he had been permitted to consult a solicitor. Furthermore, the information supplied to the Court by the Government gives reason to think that a court in England would not dismiss an action brought by a convicted prisoner on the sole ground that he had managed to cause the writ to be issued - through an attorney for instance - without obtaining leave from the Home Secretary under Rules 33 para. 2 and 34 para. 8 of the Prison Rules 1964, which in any event did not happen in the present case.

The fact nonetheless remains that Golder had made it most clear that he intended "taking civil action for libel"; it was for this purpose that he wished to contact a solicitor, which was a normal preliminary step in itself and in Golder's case probably essential on account of his imprisonment. By forbidding Golder to make such contact, the Home Secretary actually impeded the launching of the contemplated action. Without formally denying Golder his right to institute proceedings before a court, the Home Secretary did in fact prevent him from commencing an action at that time, 1970. Hindrance in fact can contravene the Convention just like a legal impediment.

It is true that - as the Government have emphasised - on obtaining his release Golder would have been in a position to have recourse to the courts at will, but in March and April 1970 this was still rather remote and hindering the effective exercise of a right may amount to a breach of that right, even if the hindrance is of a temporary character.

The Court accordingly has to examine whether the hindrance thus established violated a right guaranteed by the Convention and more particularly by Article 6 (art. 6), on which Golder relied in this respect.

27. One point has not been put in issue and the Court takes it for granted: the "right" which Golder wished, rightly or wrongly, to invoke against Laird before an English court was a "civil right" within the meaning of Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1).

28. Again, Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) does not state a right of access to the courts or tribunals in express terms. It enunciates rights which are distinct but stem from the same basic idea and which, taken together, make up a single right not specifically defined in the narrower sense of the term. It is the duty of the Court to ascertain, by means of interpretation, whether access to the courts constitutes one factor or aspect of this right.

29. The submissions made to the Court were in the first place directed to the manner in which the Convention, and particularly Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1), should be interpreted. The Court is prepared to consider, as do the Government and the Commission, that it should be guided by Articles 31 to 33 of the Vienna Convention of 23 May 1969 on the Law of Treaties. That Convention has not yet entered into force and it specifies, at Article 4, that it will not be retroactive, but its Articles 31 to 33 enunciate in essence generally accepted principles of international law to which the Court has already referred on occasion. In this respect, for the interpretation of the European Convention account is to be taken of those Articles subject, where appropriate, to "any relevant rules of the organization" - the Council of Europe - within which it has been adopted (Article 5 of the Vienna Convention).

30. In the way in which it is presented in the "general rule" in Article 3l of the Vienna Convention, the process of interpretation of a treaty is a unity, a single combined operation; this rule, closely integrated, places on the same footing the various elements enumerated in the four paragraphs of the Article.

31. The terms of Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) of the European Convention, taken in their context, provide reason to think that this right is included among the guarantees set forth.

32. The clearest indications are to be found in the French text, first sentence. In the field of "contestations civiles" (civil claims) everyone has a right to proceedings instituted by or against him being conducted in a certain way - "Žquitablement" (fairly), "publiquement" (publicly), "dans un dŽlai raisonnable" (within a reasonable time), etc. - but also and primarily "ˆ ce que sa cause soit entendue" (that his case be heard) not by any authority whatever but "par un tribunal" (by a court or tribunal) within the meaning of Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) (Ringeisen judgment of 16 July 1971, Series A no. 13, p. 39, para. 95). The Government have emphasised rightly that in French "cause" may mean "procs qui se plaide" (LittrŽ, Dictionnaire de la langue franaise, tome I, p. 509, 5o). This, however, is not the sole ordinary sense of this noun; it serves also to indicate by extension "l'ensemble des intŽrts ˆ soutenir, ˆ faire prŽvaloir" (Paul Robert, Dictionnaire alphabŽtique et analogique de la langue franaise, tome I, p. 666, II-2o). Similarly, the "contestation" (claim) generally exists prior to the legal proceedings and is a concept independent of them. As regards the phrase "tribunal indŽpendant et impartial Žtabli par la loi" (independent and impartial tribunal established by law), it conjures up the idea of organisation rather than that of functioning, of institutions rather than of procedure.

The English text, for its part, speaks of an "independent and impartial tribunal established by law". Moreover, the phrase "in the determination of his civil rights and obligations", on which the Government have relied in support of their contention, does not necessarily refer only to judicial proceedings already pending; as the Commission have observed, it may be taken as synonymous with "wherever his civil rights and obligations are being determined" (paragraph 52 of the report). It too would then imply the right to have the determination of disputes relating to civil rights and obligations made by a court or "tribunal".

The Government have submitted that the expressions "fair and public hearing" and "within a reasonable time", the second sentence in paragraph 1 ("judgment", "trial"), and paragraph 3 of Article 6 (art. 6-1, art. 6-3) clearly presuppose proceedings pending before a court.

While the right to a fair, public and expeditious judicial procedure can assuredly apply only to proceedings in being, it does not, however, necessarily follow that a right to the very institution of such proceedings is thereby excluded; the Delegates of the Commission rightly underlined this at paragraph 21 of their memorial. Besides, in criminal matters, the "reasonable time" may start to run from a date prior to the seisin of the trial court, of the "tribunal" competent for the "determination ... of (the) criminal charge" (Wemhoff judgment of 27 June 1968, Series A no. 7, pp. 26-27, para. 19; Neumeister judgment of 27 June l968, Series A no. 8, p. 41, para. 18; Ringeisen judgment of 16 July 1971, Series A no. 13, p. 45, para. 110). It is conceivable also that in civil matters the reasonable time may begin to run, in certain circumstances, even before the issue of the writ commencing proceedings before the court to which the plaintiff submits the dispute.

33. The Government have furthermore argued the necessity of relating Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) to Articles 5 para. 4 and 13 (art. 5-4, art. 13). They have observed that the latter provide expressly or a right of access to the courts; the omission of any corresponding clause in Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) seems to them to be only the more striking. The Government have also submitted that if Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) were interpreted as providing such a right of access, Articles 5 para. 4 and 13 (art. 5-4, art. 13) would become superfluous.

The Commission's Delegates replied in substance that Articles 5 para. 4 and 13 (art. 5-4, art. 13), as opposed to Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1), are "accessory" to other provisions. Those Articles, they say, do not state a specific right but are designed to afford procedural guarantees, "based on recourse", the former for the "right to liberty", as stated in Article 5 para. 1 (art. 5-1), the second for the whole of the "rights and freedoms as set forth in this Convention". Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1), they continue, is intended to protect "in itself" the "right to a good administration of justice", of which "the right that justice should be administered" constitutes "an essential and inherent element". This would serve to explain the contrast between the wording of Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) and that of Articles 5 para. 4 and 13 (art. 5-4, art. 13).

This reasoning is not without force even though the expression "right to a fair (or good) administration of justice", which sometimes is used on account of its conciseness and convenience (for example, in the Delcourt judgment of 17 January 1970, Series A no. 11, p. 15, para. 25), does not appear in the text of Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1), and can also be understood as referring only to the working and not to the organisation of justice.

The Court finds in particular that the interpretation which the Government have contested does not lead to confounding Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) with Articles 5 para. 4 and 13 (art. 5-4, art. 13), nor making these latter provisions superfluous. Article 13 (art. 13) speaks of an effective remedy before a "national authority" ("instance nationale") which may not be a "tribunal" or "court" within the meaning of Articles 6 para. 1 and 5 para. 4 (art. 6-1, art. 5-4). Furthermore, the effective remedy deals with the violation of a right guaranteed by the Convention, while Articles 6 para. 1 and 5 para. 4 (art. 6-1, art. 5-4) cover claims relating in the first case to the existence or scope of civil rights and in the second to the lawfulness of arrest or detention. What is more, the three provisions do not operate in the same field. The concept of "civil rights and obligations" (Article 6 para. 1) (art. 6-1) is not co-extensive with that of "rights and freedoms as set forth in this Convention" (Article 13) (art. 13), even if there may be some overlapping. As to the "right to liberty" (Article 5) (art. 5), its "civil" character is at any rate open to argument (Neumeister judgment of 27 June 1968, Series A no. 8, p. 43, para. 23; Matznetter judgment of 10 November 1969, Series A no. 10, p. 35, para. 13; De Wilde, Ooms and Versyp judgment of 18 June 1971, Series A no. 12, p. 44, para. 86). Besides, the requirements of Article 5 para. 4 (art. 5-4) in certain respects appear stricter than those of Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1), particularly as regards the element of "time".

34. As stated in Article 31 para. 2 of the Vienna Convention, the preamble to a treaty forms an integral part of the context. Furthermore, the preamble is generally very useful for the determination of the "object" and "purpose" of the instrument to be construed.

In the present case, the most significant passage in the Preamble to the European Convention is the signatory Governments declaring that they are "resolved, as the Governments of European countries which are like-minded and have a common heritage of political traditions, ideals, freedom and the rule of law, to take the first steps for the collective enforcement of certain of the Rights stated in the Universal Declaration" of 10 December 1948.

In the Government's view, that recital illustrates the "selective process" adopted by the draftsmen: that the Convention does not seek to protect Human Rights in general but merely "certain of the Rights stated in the Universal Declaration". Articles 1 and 19 (art. 1, art. 19) are, in their submission, directed to the same end.

The Commission, for their part, attach great importance to the expression "rule of law" which, in their view, elucidates Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1).

The "selective" nature of the Convention cannot be put in question. It may also be accepted, as the Government have submitted, that the Preamble does not include the rule of law in the object and purpose of the Convention, but points to it as being one of the features of the common spiritual heritage of the member States of the Council of Europe. The Court however considers, like the Commission, that it would be a mistake to see in this reference a merely "more or less rhetorical reference", devoid of relevance for those interpreting the Convention. One reason why the signatory Governments decided to "take the first steps for the collective enforcement of certain of the Rights stated in the Universal Declaration" was their profound belief in the rule of law. It seems both natural and in conformity with the principle of good faith (Article 31 para. 1 of the Vienna Convention) to bear in mind this widely proclaimed consideration when interpreting the terms of Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) according to their context and in the light of the object and purpose of the Convention.

This is all the more so since the Statute of the Council of Europe, an organisation of which each of the States Parties to the Convention is a Member (Article 66 of the Convention) (art. 66), refers in two places to the rule of law: first in the Preamble, where the signatory Governments affirm their devotion to this principle, and secondly in Article 3 (art. 3) which provides that "every Member of the Council of Europe must accept the principle of the rule of law ..."

And in civil matters one can scarcely conceive of the rule of law without there being a possibility of having access to the courts.

35. Article 31 para. 3 (c) of the Vienna Convention indicates that account is to be taken, together with the context, of "any relevant rules of international law applicable in the relations between the parties". Among those rules are general principles of law and especially "general principles of law recognized by civilized nations" (Article 38 para. 1 (c) of the Statute of the International Court of Justice). Incidentally, the Legal Committee of the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe foresaw in August 1950 that "the Commission and the Court must necessarily apply such principles" in the execution of their duties and thus considered it to be "unnecessary" to insert a specific clause to this effect in the Convention (Documents of the Consultative Assembly, working papers of the 1950 session, Vol. III, no. 93, p. 982, para. 5).

The principle whereby a civil claim must be capable of being submitted to a judge ranks as one of the universally "recognised" fundamental principles of law; the same is true of the principle of international law which forbids the denial of justice. Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) must be read in the light of these principles.

Were Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) to be understood as concerning exclusively the conduct of an action which had already been initiated before a court, a Contracting State could, without acting in breach of that text, do away with its courts, or take away their jurisdiction to determine certain classes of civil actions and entrust it to organs dependent on the Government. Such assumptions, indissociable from a danger of arbitrary power, would have serious consequences which are repugnant to the aforementioned principles and which the Court cannot overlook (Lawless judgment of 1 July 1961, Series A no. 3, p. 52, and Delcourt judgment of 17 January 1970, Series A no. 11, pp. 14-15).

It would be inconceivable, in the opinion of the Court, that Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) should describe in detail the procedural guarantees afforded to parties in a pending lawsuit and should not first protect that which alone makes it in fact possible to benefit from such guarantees, that is, access to a court. The fair, public and expeditious characteristics of judicial proceedings are of no value at all if there are no judicial proceedings.

36. Taking all the preceding considerations together, it follows that the right of access constitutes an element which is inherent in the right stated by Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1). This is not an extensive interpretation forcing new obligations on the Contracting States: it is based on the very terms of the first sentence of Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) read in its context and having regard to the object and purpose of the Convention, a lawmaking treaty (see the Wemhoff judgment of 27 June 1968, Series A no. 7, p. 23, para. 8), and to general principles of law.

The Court thus reaches the conclusion, without needing to resort to "supplementary means of interpretation" as envisaged at Article 32 of the Vienna Convention, that Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) secures to everyone the right to have any claim relating to his civil rights and obligations brought before a court or tribunal. In this way the Article embodies the "right to a court", of which the right of access, that is the right to institute proceedings before courts in civil matters, constitutes one aspect only. To this are added the guarantees laid down by Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) as regards both the organisation and composition of the court, and the conduct of the proceedings. In sum, the whole makes up the right to a fair hearing. The Court has no need to ascertain in the present case whether and to what extent Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) further requires a decision on the very substance of the dispute (English "determination", French "dŽcidera").

 

B. On the "Implied Limitations"

37. Since the impediment to access to the courts, mentioned in paragraph 26 above, affected a right guaranteed by Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1), it remains to determine whether it was nonetheless justifiable by virtue of some legitimate limitation on the enjoyment or exercise of that right.

38. The Court considers, accepting the views of the Commission and the alternative submission of the Government, that the right of access to the courts is not absolute. As this is a right which the Convention sets forth (see Articles 13, 14, 17 and 25) (art. 13, art. 14, art. 17, art. 25) without, in the narrower sense of the term, defining, there is room, apart from the bounds delimiting the very content of any right, for limitations permitted by implication.

The first sentence of Article 2 of the Protocol (P1-2) of 20 March 1952, which is limited to providing that "no person shall be denied the right to education", raises a comparable problem. In its judgment of 23 July 1968 on the merits of the case relating to certain aspects of the laws on the use of languages in education in Belgium, the Court ruled that:

"The right to education ... by its very nature calls for regulation by the State, regulation which may vary in time and place according to the needs and resources of the community and of individuals. It goes without saying that such regulation must never injure the substance of the right to education nor conflict with other rights enshrined in the Convention." (Series A no. 6, p. 32, para. 5).

These considerations are all the more valid in regard to a right which, unlike the right to education, is not mentioned in express terms.

39. The Government and the Commission have cited examples of regulations, and especially of limitations, which are to be found in the national law of states in matters of access to the courts, for instance regulations relating to minors and persons of unsound mind. Although it is of less frequent occurrence and of a very different kind, the restriction complained of by Golder constitutes a further example of such a limitation.

It is not the function of the Court to elaborate a general theory of the limitations admissible in the case of convicted prisoners, nor even to rule in abstracto on the compatibility of Rules 33 para. 2, 34 para. 8 and 37 para. 2 of the Prison Rules 1964 with the Convention. Seised of a case which has its origin in a petition presented by an individual, the Court is called upon to pronounce itself only on the point whether or not the application of those Rules in the present case violated the Convention to the prejudice of Golder (De Becker judgment of 27 March 1962, Series A no. 4, p. 26).

40. In this connection, the Court confines itself to noting what follows.

In petitioning the Home Secretary for leave to consult a solicitor with a view to suing Laird for libel, Golder was seeking to exculpate himself of the charge made against him by that prison officer on 25 October 1969 and which had entailed for him unpleasant consequences, some of which still subsisted by 20 March 1970 (paragraphs 12, 15 and 16 above). Furthermore, the contemplated legal proceedings would have concerned an incident which was connected with prison life and had occurred while the applicant was imprisoned. Finally, those proceedings would have been directed against a member of the prison staff who had made the charge in the course of his duties and who was subject to the Home Secretary's authority.

In these circumstances, Golder could justifiably wish to consult a solicitor with a view to instituting legal proceedings. It was not for the Home Secretary himself to appraise the prospects of the action contemplated; it was for an independent and impartial court to rule on any claim that might be brought. In declining to accord the leave which had been requested, the Home Secretary failed to respect, in the person of Golder, the right to go before a court as guaranteed by Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1).

 

ON THE ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 8 (art. 8)

41. In the opinion of the majority of the Commission (paragraph 123 of the report) "the same facts which constitute a violation of Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) constitute also a violation of Article 8 (art. 8)". The Government disagree with this opinion.

42. Article 8 (art. 8) of the Convention reads as follows:

"1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others."

43. The Home Secretary's refusal of the petition of 20 March 1970 had the direct and immediate effect of preventing Golder from contacting a solicitor by any means whatever, including that which in the ordinary way he would have used to begin with, correspondence. While there was certainly neither stopping nor censorship of any message, such as a letter, which Golder would have written to a solicitor - or vice-versa - and which would have been a piece of correspondence within the meaning of paragraph 1 of Article 8 (art. 8-1), it would be wrong to conclude therefrom, as do the Government, that this text is inapplicable. Impeding someone from even initiating correspondence constitutes the most far-reaching form of "interference" (paragraph 2 of Article 8) (art. 8-2) with the exercise of the "right to respect for correspondence"; it is inconceivable that that should fall outside the scope of Article 8 (art. 8) while mere supervision indisputably falls within it. In any event, if Golder had attempted to write to a solicitor notwithstanding the Home Secretary's decision or without requesting the required permission, that correspondence would have been stopped and he could have invoked Article 8 (art. 8); one would arrive at a paradoxical and hardly equitable result, if it were considered that in complying with the requirements of the Prison Rules 1964 he lost the benefit of the protection of Article 8 (art. 8).

The Court accordingly finds itself called upon to ascertain whether or not the refusal of the applicant's petition violated Article 8 (art. 8).

44. In the submission of the Government, the right to respect for correspondence is subject, apart from interference covered by paragraph 2 of Article 8 (art. 8-2), to implied limitations resulting, inter alia, from the terms of Article 5 para. 1 (a) (art. 5-1-a): a sentence of imprisonment passed after conviction by a competent court inevitably entails consequences affecting the operation of other Articles of the Convention, including Article 8 (art. 8).

As the Commission have emphasised, that submission is not in keeping with the manner in which the Court dealt with the issue raised under Article 8 (art. 8) in the "Vagrancy" cases (De Wilde, Ooms and Versyp judgment of 18 June 1971, Series A no. 12, pp. 45-46, para. 93). In addition and more particularly, that submission conflicts with the explicit text of Article 8 (art. 8). The restrictive formulation used at paragraph 2 (art. 8-2) ("There shall be no interference ... except such as ...") leaves no room for the concept of implied limitations. In this regard, the legal status of the right to respect for correspondence, which is defined by Article 8 (art. 8) with some precision, provides a clear contrast to that of the right to a court (paragraph 38 above).

45. The Government have submitted in the alternative that the interference complained of satisfied the explicit conditions laid down in paragraph 2 of Article 8 (art. 8-2).

It is beyond doubt that the interference was "in accordance with the law", that is Rules 33 para. 2 and 34 para. 8 of the Prison Rules 1964 (paragraph 17 above).

The Court accepts, moreover, that the "necessity" for interference with the exercise of the right of a convicted prisoner to respect for his correspondence must be appreciated having regard to the ordinary and reasonable requirements of imprisonment. The "prevention of disorder or crime", for example, may justify wider measures of interference in the case of such a prisoner than in that of a person at liberty. To this extent, but to this extent only, lawful deprivation of liberty within the meaning of Article 5 (art. 5) does not fail to impinge on the application of Article 8 (art. 8).

In its judgment of l8 June 1971 cited above, the Court held that "even in cases of persons detained for vagrancy" (paragraph 1 (e) of Article 5) (art. 5-1-e) - and not imprisoned after conviction by a court - the competent national authorities may have "sufficient reason to believe that it (is) 'necessary' to impose restrictions for the purpose of the prevention of disorder or crime, the protection of health or morals, and the protection of the rights and freedoms of others". However, in those particular cases there was no question of preventing the applicants from even initiating correspondence; there was only supervision which in any event did not apply in a series of instances, including in particular correspondence between detained vagrants and the counsel of their choice (Series A no. 12, p. 26, para. 39, and p. 45, para. 93).

In order to show why the interference complained of by Golder was "necessary", the Government advanced the prevention of disorder or crime and, up to a certain point, the interests of public safety and the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. Even having regard to the power of appreciation left to the Contracting States, the Court cannot discern how these considerations, as they are understood "in a democratic society", could oblige the Home Secretary to prevent Golder from corresponding with a solicitor with a view to suing Laird for libel. The Court again lays stress on the fact that Golder was seeking to exculpate himself of a charge made against him by that prison officer acting in the course of his duties and relating to an incident in prison. In these circumstances, Golder could justifiably wish to write to a solicitor. It was not for the Home Secretary himself to appraise - no more than it is for the Court today - the prospects of the action contemplated; it was for a solicitor to advise the applicant on his rights and then for a court to rule on any action that might be brought.

The Home Secretary's decision proves to be all the less "necessary in a democratic society" in that the applicant's correspondence with a solicitor would have been a preparatory step to the institution of civil legal proceedings and, therefore, to the exercise of a right embodied in another Article of the Convention, that is, Article 6 (art. 6).

The Court thus reaches the conclusion that there has been a violation of Article 8 (art. 8).

 

AS TO THE APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 50 (art. 50) OF THE CONVENTION

46. Article 50 (art. 50) of the Convention provides that if the Court finds, as in the present case, "that a decision ... taken" by some authority of a Contracting State "is completely or partially in conflict with the obligations arising from the ... Convention, and if the internal law of (that State) allows only partial reparation to be made for the consequences of this decision", the Court "shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party".

The Rules of Court state that when the Court "finds that there is a breach of the Convention, it shall give in the same judgment a decision on the application of Article 50 (art. 50) of the Convention if that question, after being raised under Rule 47 bis, is ready for decision; if the question is not ready for decision", the Court "shall reserve it in whole or in part and shall fix the further procedure" (Rule 50 para. 3, first sentence, read together with Rule 48 para. 3).

At the hearing in the afternoon of 11 October 1974, the Court invited the representatives, under Rule 47 bis, to present their observations on the question of the application of Article 50 (art. 50) of the Convention in this case. Those observations were submitted at the hearing on the following day.

Furthermore, in reply to a question from the President of the Court immediately following the reading of the Commission's final submissions, the Principal Delegate confirmed that the Commission were not presenting, nor making any reservation as to the presentation of, a request for just satisfaction on the part of the applicant.

The Court considers accordingly that the above question, which was duly raised by the Court, is ready for decision and should therefore be decided without further delay. The Court is of opinion that in the circumstances of the case it is not necessary to afford to the applicant any just satisfaction other than that resulting from the finding of a violation of his rights.

 

FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT,

1. Holds by nine votes to three that there has been a breach of Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1);

2. Holds unanimously that there has been a breach of Article 8 (art. 8);

3. Holds unanimously that the preceding findings amount in themselves to adequate just satisfaction under Article 50 (art. 50).