The first applicant is a limited liability company. Its registered office is in Odemira (Portugal). It was represented before the Court by the second applicant, who is a Portuguese national. She was born in 1946 and lives in Odemira. The applicants were represented before the Court by Mr J. Pires de Lima, of the Cascais Bar.
The facts of the case, as submitted by the applicants, may be summarised as follows.
On 5 April 1990 the first applicant brought an action for damages in the Santiago do Cacém District Court against one of its shareholders, Mr J.C.G. It demanded the repayment of certain sums of money which the defendant had allegedly received on the company’s behalf, but had not paid to it.
The defendant lodged his submissions in reply on an unknown date. The first applicant lodged a reply on 10 September 1990.
In a decision of 15 July 1996, the court upheld one of the objections raised by the defendant and dismissed the first applicant’s claims.
The first applicant appealed. The Court of Appeal (Tribunal da Relação) of Evora set aside the decision in a judgment of 4 December 1997 and ordered that the proceedings should continue.
The proceedings are still pending in the Santiago do Cacém District Court.
Relying on Article 6 § 1 of the Convention, the applicants complained of the length of the proceedings.
1. The Court observes as a preliminary point that the second applicant is not a party to the proceedings in question, which concern only the first applicant. It reiterates the provisions of Article 34 of the Convention according to which the Court may receive applications “from any person ... claiming to be the victim of a violation ... of the rights set forth in the Convention ...”.
The Court notes that the second applicant cannot complain of the length of proceedings to which she is not a party, despite the fact that she is one of the shareholders of the first applicant (see, mutatis mutandis, application no. 436/58, Commission decision of 7 July 1959, Yearbook, vol. 2, p. 386, and Pires da Silva and Others v. Portugal, application no. 19157/91, Commission decision of 5 July 1993, unreported).
It follows that, as far as the second applicant is concerned, the application is incompatible ratione personae with the provisions of the Convention for the purposes of Article 35 § 3.
2. With regard to the first applicant, the Court is unable, on the basis of the present state of the file, to rule on the admissibility of the complaint and considers it necessary to communicate this part of the application to the respondent Government, in accordance with Rule 54 § 3 (b) of the Rules of Court.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Adjourns the examination of the first applicant’s complaint based on the length of the proceedings;
Declares inadmissible the remainder of the application.
Vincent Berger Georg Ress
santos lda. and fachadas v. portugal DECISION
SANTOS lda. and fachadas v. portugal DECISION