European Court of Human Rights - case of Hornsby v. Greece (1997) (excerpts)

European Court of Human Rights - case of Hornsby v. Greece (1997) (excerpts)


40. The Court reiterates that, according to its established case-law,

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 it 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 (see the Philis

v. Greece judgment of 27 August 1991, Series A no. 209, p. 20,

para. 59). However, that right would be illusory if a

Contracting State's domestic legal system allowed a final, binding

judicial decision to remain inoperative to the detriment of one party.

It would be inconceivable that Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) should

describe in detail procedural guarantees afforded to litigants -

proceedings that are fair, public and expeditious - without protecting

the implementation of judicial decisions; to construe Article 6

(art. 6) as being concerned exclusively with access to a court and the

conduct of proceedings would be likely to lead to situations

incompatible with the principle of the rule of law which the

Contracting States undertook to respect when they ratified the

Convention (see, mutatis mutandis, the Golder v. the United Kingdom

judgment of 21 February 1975, Series A no. 18, pp. 16-18,

paras. 34-36). Execution of a judgment given by any court must

therefore be regarded as an integral part of the "trial" for the

purposes of Article 6 (art. 6); moreover, the Court has already

accepted this principle in cases concerning the length of proceedings

(see, most recently, the Di Pede v. Italy and Zappia v. Italy judgments

of 26 September 1996, Reports of Judgments and Decisions 1996-IV,

pp. 1383-1384, paras. 20-24, and pp. 1410-1411, paras. 16-20