Eckle v Germany: ECHR 15 Jul 1982

Two fraud prosecutions against the claimants had lasted for 15 and 20 years respectively.
Held: Article 6.1 applies to all stages of criminal proceedings, including sentencing and any appeal. The ‘reasonable time’ in criminal matters, specified in article 6.1 began to run as soon as a person was charged; that ‘charge’ was defined as the official notification given to an individual by that competent authority of an allegation that he had committed a criminal offence. The court observed that mitigation of sentence and discontinuance on the grounds of delay did not deprive the applicants of their status as victims, and ‘The Court does not exclude the possibility that this general rule might be subject to an exception when the national authorities have acknowledged either expressly or in substance, and then afforded redress for, the breach of the Convention. In such circumstances, to duplicate the domestic process with proceedings before the Commission and the Court would hardly be compatible with the subsidiary character of the machinery of protection established by the Convention. The Convention leaves to each Contracting State, in the first place, the task of securing the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms it enshrines. This subsidiary character is all the more pronounced in the case of States which have incorporated the Convention into their domestic legal order and which treat the rules of the Convention as directly applicable.’
The test as to whether a person has been ‘charged’ for the purposes of article 6(1) is whether the situation of the person has been substantially affected.
R. Ryssdal, President
8130/78, (1982) 5 EHRR 1, [1982] ECHR 4
Worldlii, Bailii
European Convention on Human Rights 6.1
Human Rights
CitedDeweer v Belgium ECHR 27-Feb-1980
The applicant, a Belgian butcher, paid a fine by way of settlement in the face of an order for the closure of his shop until judgment was given in an intended criminal prosecution or until such fine was paid.
Held: Since the payment was made . .

Cited by:
CitedDyer v Watson and Burrows PC 29-Jan-2002
Parties challenged the compliance of proceedings with the convention where there had been considerable delay.
Held: The reasonable detention provision (article 5(3)) and the reasonable time requirement (article 6(1)) conferred free-standing . .
CitedMills v HM Advocate and Another PC 22-Jul-2002
(The High Court of Justiciary) The defendant appealed on the basis that the delay in the sentencing process had resulted in an infringement of his human rights.
Held: The appeal itself had been without merit. The delay had been to such an . .
See AlsoEckle v Germany (Article 50) ECHR 21-Jun-1983
Hudoc Judgment (Just satisfaction) Pecuniary damage – claim rejected; Non-pecuniary damage – finding of violation sufficient; Costs and expenses award – domestic proceedings; Costs and expenses award – Convention . .
CitedLloyd v Bow Street Magistrates Court Admn 8-Oct-2003
The defendant had been convicted and made subect to a confiscation order in 1996. A final order for enforcement was made in late 2002. The defendant said the delay in the enforcement proceedings was a breach of his right to a trial within a . .
CitedDepartment for Work and Pensions v Courts Admn 3-May-2006
The appellant challenged stays of proceedings by the respondent magistrates court for abuse of process infringing the defendants’ human right to a fair trial. The magistrates had fund that being faced with dismissal of a summary case through delay, . .
CitedAttorney-General’s Reference (No 2 of 2001) HL 11-Dec-2003
The house was asked whether it might be correct to stay criminal proceedings as an abuse where for delay. The defendants were prisoners in a prison riot in 1998. The case only came on for trial in 2001, when they submitted that the delay was an . .
CitedBurns v Her Majesty’s Advocate (Scotland) PC 15-Dec-2008
The accused was arrested in February 2003, but then only brought to court in December 2004. He said that he had not had a fair trial within a reasonable time. The parties disputed when the time began to run from, from the date of arrest or his first . .
CitedRabone and Another v Pennine Care NHS Trust CA 21-Jun-2010
The claimant’s daughter had committed suicide after being given home leave on a secure ward by the respondent mental hospital. A claim in negligence had been settled, but the parents now appealed refusal of their claim that the hospital had failed . .
CitedZaichenko v Russia ECHR 18-Feb-2010
(First Section) The claimant complaned that he had not been allowed access to a lawyer when being questioned by police when he was not under arrest. He had been stopped driving home from work and his car inspected by the police after reports of . .
CitedAmbrose v Harris, Procurator Fiscal, Oban, etc SC 6-Oct-2011
(Scotland) The appellant had variously been convicted in reliance on evidence gathered at different stages before arrest, but in each case without being informed of any right to see a solicitor. The court was asked, as a devolution issue, at what . .
CitedO’Neill v Her Majesty’s Advocate No 2 SC 13-Jun-2013
The appellants had been convicted of murder, it being said that they had disposed of her body at sea. They now said that the delay between being first questioned and being charged infringed their rights to a trial within a reasonable time, and . .
CitedO’Connor v Bar Standards Board SC 6-Dec-2017
The claimant barrister complained of the manner of conduct of the disciplinary proceedings brought against her. She had been cleared of any breach of the Bar Code of Conduct, but her claim was then ruled out of time under section 7(5)(a), time . .
CitedJ, Regina v CACD 2-Jul-2001
Orse Attorney General’s Reference No 2 of 2001
The AG sought to appeal from the decision that an indictment against the seven defendants should be stayed on the ground that there had been a breach of Article 6(1). They were accused of . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 03 September 2021; Ref: scu.164908