European Court of Human Rights - case of Unión Alimentaria Sanders SA v. Spain (1989) (excerpts)

European Court of Human Rights - case of Unión Alimentaria Sanders SA v. Spain (1989) (excerpts)


35. The Court reiterates that such a principle does not absolve

the courts from ensuring compliance with the requirements of

Article 6 (art. 6) concerning reasonable time (see, inter alia, the

Martins Moreira judgment of 26 October 1988, Series A no. 143,

p. 17, para. 46). Like the Commission, the Court considers that

the person concerned is required only to show diligence in carrying

out the procedural steps relating to him, to refrain from using

delaying tactics and to avail himself of the scope afforded by

domestic law for shortening the proceedings. He is under no duty

to take action which is not apt for that purpose (see the Guincho

judgment of 10 July 1984, Series A no. 81, p. 15, para. 34).

In the instant case it appears from the evidence that the applicant

company showed diligence and that on 10 July 1983 it complained to

the relevant court (see paragraph 13 above). This was the only

ordinary procedure available to it under Spanish legislation. The

recurso de amparo of 21 October 1983 was brought mainly in order to

obtain a finding that there had been a violation of the

Constitution, and it was dismissed on 23 January 1985 (see

paragraph 13 above). That being so, even if in this case it

indirectly helped to expedite the proceedings, it cannot on that

account be regarded as an ordinary procedure for achieving that

end. As far as the appeal proceedings are concerned, it is

understandable that Unión Alimentaria Sanders SA did not lodge a

second constitutional appeal seeing that its first one had failed.