On November 21st 2017, the European Court of Human Rights, in the case of Scheszták v. Hungary (application no. 5769/11) held that there had been a violation of Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair trial) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
In 2007 Mr Scheszták, the applicant, filed an action against his former employer, claiming unlawful dismissal. In his complaint to the European Court, he complained that the ensuing labour law proceedings were unfair. He alleged in particular that the Supreme Court had given judgment on his case without waiting for his pleadings, finding that they had been submitted too late.
The Court found that the Supreme Court having judged Mr Scheszták’s case only on the adversary’s pleadings had been tantamount to disrespect for the principle of adversarial procedure. That had occurred as a result of a procedural mistake in the case with regard to the time-limit for the submission of Mr Scheszták’s pleadings. Indeed, the Hungarian Government itself had conceded that that mistake had been made and that it had had serious consequences for the merits of Mr Scheszták’s case.
The Court further pointed out that it was satisfied that Mr Scheszták could not have been expected to have brought an official liability action before the Hungarian courts in order to have exhausted domestic remedies. Such an action, even if successful, could not have led either to the calculation and awarding of the amounts sought by Mr Scheszták in his original claim before the labour court or to the case being examined afresh.