ECtHR: K.M.C. v. Hungary – workers’ right to protection against unjustified dismissal and right to a fair trial – Protección frente al despido improcedente y derecho a la tutela judicial efectiva

Application no. 19554/11

English: “31.  The Court recalls that, according to its well-established case-law, Article 6 § 1 of the Convention may be relied on by individuals who consider that an interference with the exercise of one of their (civil) rights is unlawful and complain that they have not had the possibility of submitting that claim to a court meeting the requirements of Article 6 § 1 (see Le Compte, Van Leuven and De Meyere v. Belgium, 23 June 1981, § 44, Series A no. 43). In the words of the Court’s Golder judgment, Article 6 § 1 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 Golder v. the United Kingdom, 21 February 1975, § 36, Series A no. 18).

(…)

34.  In the particular case, the Court observes that the applicant as a former government official dismissed from service was in principle entitled to challenge that dismissal in court. However, since the employer was under no obligation to give any reasons for that dismissal, the Court takes the view that it is inconceivable for the applicant to have brought a meaningful action, for want of any known position of the respondent employer. For the Court, this legal constellation amounts to depriving the impugned right of action of all substance. The Court also notes that the Constitutional Court, whose approach was partly based on the Court’s relevant case-law, annulled the underlying domestic provision for, among others, similar considerations (see paragraph 16 above), largely in line with the spirit of the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights (see paragraph 18 above) and the revised European Social Charter (see paragraph 19 above).

35.  The foregoing considerations are sufficient to enable the Court to conclude that, in disputes concerning civil rights such as the present one, such a limited review cannot be considered to be an effective judicial review under Article 6 § 1. There has therefore been a violation of the applicant’s right of access to a court (see Obermeier v. Austria, 28 June 1990, § 70, Series A no. 179; and, a contrario, A. Menarini Diagnostics S.R.L. v. Italy, no. 43509/08, §§ 57 to 67, 27 September 2011).

There has accordingly been a violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention”.

Comment: we should hightlight that the ECtHR referres to “the spirit of the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights (see paragraph 18 above) and the revised European Social Charter (see paragraph 19 above)”.

Trending topic: unjustified dismissal and right to a fair trial.

Doctrina: La legislación húngara permitía despedir al titular de un cargo público sin necesidad de aportar justificación alguna. Teóricamente el perjudicado podía recurrir ante los tribunales laborales, pero no lo hace dado el tenor de la ley que otorgaba cobertura a su despido. Posteriormente la ley se declara inconstitucional, sin que los efectos de la sentencia se extiendan al interesado. El Tribunal considera que se ha lesionado el derecho a la tutela judicial efectiva, dado que el teórico derecho a recurrir quedaba, en la práctica, vacío de contenido, tal y como después reconoció el propio Tribunal Constitucional.

Comentario: resulta especialmente interesante que el TEDH se refiera al “espíritu de la Carta Europea de Derechos Fundamentales (cfr. párrafo 18) y a la actual Carta Social Europea (cfr. párrafo 19).

Tendencia: despido improcedente y derecho a la tutela judicial efectiva

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