Acquisition of Legal Personality and Registration

United Macedonian Organisation Ilinden and Others v Bulgaria (decision), 30 September 2008 [ECtHR]

Case no 34960/04

2.  In respect of their complaint that the registration proceedings were unreasonably lengthy the applicants again relied on Article 6 § 1 of the Convention, which provides, as relevant:

“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ..., everyone is entitled to a ... hearing within a reasonable time by [a] ... tribunal...”

The applicants pointed out that the Sofia Court of Appeals ruled more than seven months after the lodging of the appeal against the Blagoevgrad Regional Court's judgment and the Supreme Court of Cassation took more than nine months to dispose of the appeal on points of law. In their view, such delays were unwarranted.

The Court notes at the outset that it was only the applicant association, not the remaining applicants, which was party to the proceedings at issue. The question thus arises whether the remaining applicants may claim that their civil rights were affected by these proceedings (see, mutatis mutandis, APEH Üldözötteinek Szövetsége and Others v. Hungary, no. 32367/96, §§ 30‑36, ECHR 2000-X; and Jechev v. Bulgaria (dec.), no. 57045/00, 2 May 2006). However, the Court does not need to resolve this issue, as the complaint is inadmissible in any event for the following reasons.

The Court observes that the proceedings started on 21 October 2002 and ended on 12 May 2004. Their overall duration was therefore a little over one and a half years for three levels of jurisdiction. In the circumstances and taking into account in particular the subject‑matter of the case, the Court does not consider that the overall duration of the proceedings was unreasonable (see Jechev, cited above).

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