Judgment (Merits and Just Satisfaction) of Court (First Section Committee), April 30, 2015 (case CASE OF FERREIRA ALVES v. PORTUGAL)

Defense:PORTUGAL
Resolution Date:April 30, 2015
Issuing Organization:Court (First Section Committee)

FIRST SECTION

CASE OF FERREIRA ALVES v. PORTUGAL

(Application no. 78165/12)

JUDGMENT

STRASBOURG

30 April 2015

This judgment is final but it may be subject to editorial revision.

In the case of Ferreira Alves v. Portugal,

The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting as a Committee composed of:

             Mirjana Lazarova Trajkovska, President,              Paulo Pinto de Albuquerque,              Linos-Alexandre Sicilianos, judges,

and André Wampach, Deputy Section Registrar,

Having deliberated in private on 7 April 2015,

Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:

PROCEDURE

  1. The case originated in an application (no. 78165/12) against the Portuguese Republic lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by a Portuguese national, Mr Jorge de Jesus Ferreira Alves (“the applicant”), on 23 November 2012.

  2. The Portuguese Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mrs M. F. da Graça Carvalho, Deputy-Attorney General.

  3. On 4 March 2014 the application was communicated to the Government.

    THE FACTS

    1. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE

  4. The applicant, a lawyer, was born in 1953 and lives in Matosinhos.

  5. On 22 February 2008 the Porto Ethics Council (Conselho Deontológico do Porto) of the Portuguese Bar Association (Ordem dos Advogados) instituted disciplinary proceedings against the applicant, following a complaint introduced by the Administrative Central Court of the North (Tribunal Central Administrativo do Norte) against the latter (disciplinary proceedings no. 100/2008). In particular, the complaint concerned the applicant’s request made in the course of four different tort actions against the State, in which he was a legal representative, to have a judgment from the European Court of Human Rights translated and paid by the domestic court.

  6. On 10 March 2008 the applicant was summoned of the disciplinary proceedings and on 13 March 2008 he presented his submissions.

  7. On 9 November 2012 the Ethics Council dismissed the case for being time-barred.

    1. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW

  8. Article 125 of the Statute of the Portuguese Bar Association reads as follows in the relevant parts:

    “The disciplinary penalties are:

    ...

    1. suspension up to ten years;

    2. expulsion ...”

    THE LAW

    1. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLES 6 § 1 AND 13 OF THE CONVENTION

  9. The applicant complained that the length of the proceedings had been incompatible with the “reasonable time” requirement. He also complained that he had not had an effective remedy in this respect. He relied on Articles 6 § 1, 8, 13 and 35 of the Convention. The Court considers that the applicant’s complaints concerning the length of proceedings should be examined only from the standpoint of Articles 6 § 1 and 13 of the Convention, which reads as follows in the relevant parts:

    ...

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