Hammern v Norway: ECHR 11 Feb 2003

The claimant was acquitted by a jury at trial and he then sought compensation for the period of his detention on remand. The test applied was whether ‘it is shown to be probable that he did not perform the act that formed the basis for the charge’.
Held: Article 6(2) was applicable and there was a violation of it. The compensation proceedings did not give rise to a ‘criminal charge’ against the applicant, but went on to hold that the linkage between the compensation proceedings and the criminal proceedings had the consequence of bringing the former ‘within the scope’ of article 6(2). At para 44 the Court held that it was significant that the proceedings engaged the responsibility of the state, not a private party. Article 6(2) applied: ‘Moreover, unlike in criminal proceedings – where it was for the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant had committed the incriminated act – in a compensation case of the present kind it was for the acquitted person to show that, on the balance of probabilities, it was more than 50% probable that he or she did not carry out the act grounding the charge. Leaving aside this difference in evidentiary standards, the latter issue overlapped to a very large extent with that decided in the applicant’s criminal trial. It was determined on the basis of evidence from that trial by the same court, sitting largely in the same formation, in accordance with the requirements of article 447 of the Code.
Thus, the compensation claim not only followed the criminal proceedings in time, but was also tied to those proceedings in legislation and practice, with regard to both jurisdiction and subject-matter. Its object was, put simply, to establish whether the state should have a financial obligation to compensate the burden it had created for the acquitted person by the prosecution it had engaged against him. Although the applicant was not ‘charged with a criminal offence’, the Court considers that, in the circumstances, the conditions for obtaining compensation were linked to the issue of criminal responsibility in such a manner as to bring the proceedings within the scope of article 6(2), which accordingly is applicable.’


30287/96, [2003] ECHR 75, [2011] ECHR 2150


Worldlii, Bailii, Bailii


European Convention on Human Rights 6(2)

Cited by:

CitedMullen, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 29-Apr-2004
The claimant had been imprisoned, but his conviction was later overturned. He had been a victim of a gross abuse of executive power. The British authorities had acted in breach of international law and had been guilty of ‘a blatant and extremely . .
CitedDr D, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Health CA 19-Jul-2006
The doctor complained of the use of Alert letters where he was suspected of sexual abuse of patients, but the allegations were unsubstantiated. He complained particularly that he had been acquitted in a criminal court and then also by the . .
CitedAdams, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Justice SC 11-May-2011
The three claimants had each been convicted of murders and served time. Their convictions had been reversed eventually, and they now appealed against the refusal of compensation for imprisonment, saying that there had been a miscarriage of justice. . .
CitedGale and Another v Serious Organised Crime Agency SC 26-Oct-2011
Civil recovery orders had been made against the applicant. He had been accused and acquitted of drug trafficking allegations in Europe, but the judge had been persuaded that he had no proper explanation for the accumulation of his wealth, and had . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights

Updated: 07 June 2022; Ref: scu.179052