Case of European Court of Human Rights, October 23, 1995 (case Gradinger v. Austria)

Resolution Date:October 23, 1995

Violation of Art. 6-1 (access) Not necessary to examine Art. 6-1 (publicly) Preliminary objection rejected (reservation) Preliminary objection rejected (ratione temporis) Violation of P7-4 Costs and expenses partial award - domestic proceedings Costs and expenses partial award - Convention proceedings


Information Note on the Court’s case-law No.

October 1995

Gradinger v. Austria - 15963/90

Judgment 23.10.1995

Article 6

Administrative proceedings

Article 6-1

Access to court

Criminal charge

Criminal and administrative criminal proceedings for causing death by negligence and driving under the influence of drink: Article 6 § 1 applicable; violation

[This summary is extracted from the Court’s official reports (Series A or Reports of Judgments and Decisions). Its formatting and structure may therefore differ from the Case-Law Information Note summaries.]

I.              ARTICLE 6 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION

A.              Applicability

  1.               Whether there was a "criminal charge"

    Offences in issue and procedures followed: fell within administrative sphere but were nevertheless criminal in nature, as was reflected in the terminology - fine imposed had been accompanied by an order for committal to prison in the event of default.

  2.               Austria's reservation in respect of Article 5 of the Convention

    Mentions only Article 5 and makes express reference solely to measures for the deprivation of liberty - in the instant case a substantive provision not specified in the reservation had been applied.

    Conclusion: Article 6 § 1 applicable (unanimously).

    B.              Compliance

  3.               Access to a tribunal

    Constitutional Court: lacked "full jurisdiction".

    Administrative Court: powers to be assessed in the light of the criminal nature of the case - when compatibility with Article 6 § 1 is being gauged, regard must be had to the complaints raised by the applicant as well as to the defining characteristics of a "judicial body that has full jurisdiction" - no power to quash in all respects, on questions of fact and law, the decision of the body below.

    Conclusion: violation (unanimously).

  4.               Lack of a hearing and failure to take evidence from witnesses

    Having regard to the foregoing conclusion, unnecessary to examine the complaint.

    Conclusion: unnecessary to examine complaint (unanimously).

    II.              ARTICLE 4 OF PROTOCOL NO. 7

    A.              Reservation in respect of Article 4

    No "brief statement" of the law said not to conform...

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