APPLICATION/REQUÊTE N° 10293/83 B . v/the UNITED KINGDO M B. c/ROYAUME-UN I DECISION ol' 12 Deceraber 1985 on the admissibiliry of the application DÉCISION du 12 décembre 1985 sur la recevabilité de la requête Article 6, paragraph 1 of the Convention : This provision abes not apply to disciplinary proceedings in which a °severe reprimand" is imposed on a civil servant, even where the sanction may have repercussions for the person's reputation. Article 10, paragraph I of rthe ConvenGon : Rules which prohibit a civil servant from revealing information obtained in the course of his dutie.s ualess he has prior authorisation constitute imerferem~e with the erercise of his right to freedom of expression . Article 10, ,paragraph 2 of the Convention : Civil servant prohibited from revealing informa'ion obtained in the course of his duties unless he has prior authorisation : prohibition regarded as "preccribed by Law" in the light of the reason for the rules, their accessibility and the actual knowledge the person irwolved had of them. Civil servaru with an atomic weapons research establishntent prohibited from pair ticipating in a television prog,,amme on safety at the centre withoul prior permission, notwithstanding the holding cf local elected political offtee . In the light of the duties and responsibilities attached to the post, the prohibition regarded here as ameasure necessary in a dernocratic sociery for the protection of the righta of the employer. Article 26 of the Convention : Running of the six months'period interrupted by a first letterfrom the applicant setting out summarily the object ofthe application, even through the application itself was only sent to the Commission almost 11 months later. 41 As regards comDtaints not included in the application itself, the running of the period of•six months is not interrupted until the date when the complaint is first submitted to the Commission. Article 6, paragraphe 1, de la Convention : Disposition inapplicable à une procédure disciplinaire conduisam à infliger à un fonctionnaire public la sanction de la « réprimande grave », alors même que cette sanction peut avoir des conséquences pour la réputation de l'intéressé. Article 10, paragraphe 1, de la Convention : Une prescription interdisant à un Jonctiomuxire de divulguer, sans autorisation préalable, des informations connues dans le cadre de ses fonctions, est une ingérence dans l'exercice du droit à la liberté d'expression. Article 10, paragraphe 2, de la ConvenBon : Interdiction faite à un fonctionnaire de divulguer, sans autorisation préalable, des informations connues dans le cadre de ses fonctions, considérée en l'espèce comme étant «prévue par la loi» vu sa ratio legis, son accessibilité et la connaissance personnelle qu'en avait l'intéressé. Interdiction faite à un fonetionnaire attaché à un centre de recherches en matière d'armzment atomique, et alors même qu'il exerce un mandat politique électif local, de participer sans autorisation préalable à une éniission télévisée sur la sécurité du centre. Interdiction considérée en l'espèce, vu les devoirs et responsabilités attachés à la position de l'intéressé, comme une mesure nécessaire dans une société démocratique à la protection des droits de son employeur. Article 26 de la ConvenBon : Cours du délai de six mois interrompu par la première lettre du requérant exposant sommairement l'objet de la requête, alors même que la requête elle-même n'a été envoyée à la Commission que près de onze mois plus tard. Pour tout grief non contenu dans la requête proprement dite, le cours du délai de six mois n'e.st interrompu que le jour où ce grief est articulé pour la première fois devant la Commission. THE FACTS (français : voir p. 57) The facts as they have been submitted on behalf of the applicant, a British citizen born in 1923 and resident in Newbury, England, who is represented before the Commission by Ms . Geraldine van Bueren and the National Council for Civil Liberties pursuant to a letter of appointment of 2 June 1981, may be summarised as follows. -l2 The applicant's first letter to die Commission was sent by his representative on 1 March 1982 . This letter stated that a fuller application, setting out the facts,.details of the exhaustion of domestic remedies, the objects of the claim and the supporting legal arguments was to follow . Nothing furr,her was heard from the applicant, or his represer.tatives, until 2 August 1982, when further submissions were promised "no later than the end of Seotember" . Mothinq further was heard until 25 January 1983, when a legal memorial date3 10 April 1982 was submitted to the Commission, together with a letter from the applicant dated 17 December 1982 explaining that the delay arising in the further submission of his application vias due to anxiety eauseA by his wife's sericus illness during the conrse of 1982 . The applicant was a senior scientist employed as a civil servant, with the : grade of principal professional and technical officer by the Ministry of Defence at the Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Research E :stablishment ("Aldermaston") . In 1971 he was elected for Newbury (East) electoral division, having applied for and having been granted permission to stand as first a Boiough Councillor, and then a County CounciIlor by the Civil Service administration, since hëwas categorised as in the "politically restricced" class of civil servants, consisting or all sta ff above executive officers (and certain others) who are debarred from naticnal political activity, but may apply for permission to take »art in local political a .tivities . The applicant's responsibilities at Aldermaston i»cluded those of safety managemernt for the plant's radioaaive waste, and in 1976 he was approached by some constiiments concerned, like.the applicant, with the question of the adaquacy of the safety precautionsat Aldermaston. In August 1978 all the radioactive plants at AIdeTnaston were closed temporarily as health hazards . In ifie same year the applicard was givel a formal warniug following his contact with the press in relation to official rnaterial .Oti23Janua:y 1980 the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) approache d the applicant to aslc if he would agree to be interviewed in a programme entitled "Is Aldermaston safe ^: ". The BEIC assured the, applicant that the inte:rview would orily concern matters of the publie reoerd . Tlie applican; informed the Chief Aduainistrative Officer at Aldermaston of the request, which he wished to accept both as a County Councillor, and a specialist in the area of safety management, known to be concernrxl with the implementation of the highest safety standards . Iie was advised that he should formally seek pennission to appear am the programme and on 4 February 1980 he did so .OnZ"iFebruarÿ1980theBBCfilmcrewvisitedtheAlderniastonareaforth e last time . The applicant therefore agreed to grant an interview, on the basis that if the Ministry of Defence raised significant objections, omissions would be made approprialely from the.recording . On 3 March 1980 the applicant received a letter from his Chief Administrative Of,ïcer refusing permission for him ta participate in th e '! t interview, since part of it might touch on matters which were sub judice, which might in turn lead to the Ministry being in contempt of court . Part of the letter read as follows : "After consideration it was not found possible to agree to the BBC's request because of legal advice on the possibility of factors being touched upon in the course of the interview which would be relevant to certain claims which would be sub judice . If such did happen it could well lead to the Ministry being in danger of contempt of court . . . The conclusion reached is that if the department acceded to your requcst you could also find yourself in a suitably dangerous position . . . This was apparently a reference to cases which were under consideration by the personal representatives of persons who had contracted cancer while working at Aldermaston, but no such cases had been set down for trial at the time of the interview . On 4 March 1980 the applicant had an interview with the County Solicitor, to whom he had access as a County Councillor, who advised that in these circumstanees there appeared to be no risk of the applicant committing contempt of court. The applicant was specifically advised : "that . . . if he felt that it was his duty as a County Councillor to comment publicly on the events at Aldermaston that were giving him cause for concern he could do so with the knowledge that he would not be in contempt of court ." On 5 March 1980 the applicant wrote to the Chief Administrative Officer a t Aldermaston stating that the only objection raised appeared to be on the ground of possible contempt of court, and referring to the advice he had received he eontinued : "my feeling is still that I can discuss terms which come to me as Councillor and consequences affecting me as an individual, independent of my responsibility as part of the Ministry of Defence line management . " The applicant's letter was received on 10 March 1980, the day before the transmission of the interview . The applicant recieved no reply, nor was other action taken by the Ministry at that time, and the programme was transmitted unamended on I1 March 1980 . On 19 April 1980 the applicant was charged with a disciplinary offence o f taking part in a television programme contrary to the regulations, and the decision of the Administrative Officer communicated to the applicant on 3 March 1980 . The applicant was specifically charged with the disciplinary offence of taking part in the BBC programme contrary to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) Manual 11 paragraph 1154, which provides as follows : °civilianpersonnel who wish to take part, anonymously or otherwise, in any outside activity which-involves the disclosure of information obtained inthe course of officiatduties, the use of official experience, or the public expression 44 of views on official matters must obtain Ministry of DeFence authority in advance . .. failure to obtain the necessary permissicn before undertaking any sueh activity is a discilolinarp offence . The foregoing requirement to obtain authority does not however apply to a civil servant who as an elected natiomal, departrnental or branch represcntative or officer of a recognised staff association or trade union is publicising his association's or union's views on an official matter which beeause it directly affects the conditions of service of members of Itis association or union as employees, however, apply to the case (probably rare) where the official duiies of the association or union representative or offieer in his role as a public servant are directly concerned with the matter in question . Per,nissicn is not necessary for civil servants to take part in activities organised by, or on behald of, their staff associations or unicns . . . " The applicant submitted that ie had uot disclosed any information received in the course of his official duties, although he had in the broader sense used "official experience" and had also, in the broader sense "made a public expression o!= views on official matters" . He maintainecl that nothing he had said was not already known, and that he had acted throughout with moderation and discretion in conformity with paragraph 2 of the Code of Discretion set out in Amtex ?.0 E of MOD Manual 11 which provides as follows : "Code of discretion for those who, though not allowed to take parrin national political activities, are allowed to participate in local government and political ac~ivities in the local field. The permission to participate in local government and in political activities in ttie local field granted to civil servants not free to participate in national political activities is subject to the condition that they act with tnoderation and discretion, particularly in mztters connected with the Ministry of Defnce and that they take care not to involve themselves in inatte.rs of political controversy which are of national rather than of local significance . " Tf:e applicant also relied on the apparentl_i restricted scope of paragraph 1152 of MOD Manual 11, headed Applicability, which provides as follows : "7'he regulaiions in paragraphs 1151 to 1167 and in Annex Bgovern the disclosure of information to the general public or to any persons not autltôrised for official purposes to have access to official information . This includes also the, placing oPinformationin the hands of any person or group without restrai .nt on further dissemination or discussions . " The applicant's solicitcr applied that the hearing of the disciplinary eharge should uot be helc at Alderniaston, to ensure that it would be "unaffected by any prior conceptions either about the case or about him" . The appli, :ant's solicitor referred to three other occasiorts whcn the applicant had experience.d difficulties with more senior officials at Aldermaston, one of which had not yet beemresolved . Hc 45 also referred to evidence of personal bias against the applicant by one official . The hearing was nevertheless held on 7 July 1980 at Aldermaston, when the applicant's solicitor objected that the charge was not specific in indicating the part of the regulations it was alleged had been contravened, and that consequently the applicant could not know which charge he was being called to answer . The hearing was accordingly adjourned and the applicant wasitiformed by letter of 27 May 1980 in the following terms : "the purpose of the diciptinary hearing is to establish the facts of the alleged offence and to record whatever oral representations (the applicant) wishes to put forward. The report of the hearing is then forwarded to the Head of Establishment who in turn submits the case together with his recommendations to the Ministry of Defence where the decision is taken . A hearing is normally held in the Establishment and is composed of staff on that Establishment. " The hearing resumed on 10 September 1980, when the applicant's representative confirmed that the charge had been adequately explained. He submitted that there was an ambiguity between the scope of paragraphs 1152 and 1154, in that although paragraph 1152 appeared to be exhaustive, paragraph 1154, by reference to which the charge was laid, was much wider, in that it included as a possible offence the use of official experience . The applicant's representative nevertheless pointed out that the reason given to the applicant for the refusal of permission for him to participate in the broadcast was palpably wrong, in that no threat of contempt of court existed, and that the applicant had known that trade union representatives employed at Aldermaston were to take part in the programme, as they ultimately did, without permission, and was of the opinion that he as a County Councillor was entitled to take part in equivalent circumstances to the trade union representatives . In particular he submitted that if the risk of contempt of court arose in respect of the applicant's participation in the programme, it would arise just as much by virtue of the participation of the trade union representatives . Furthermore, no outside complaint had been made about the applicant's participation in the programme, and no contempt proceedings had been instituted . Finally, the Ministry had made no reference in its letter of 3 March 1980 to such matters as policy considerations, political controversy or embarrassment to the Government, factors which did not appear to be relevant in the present case . The applicant's representative then summarised his submissions as follows J . There was a conflict between paragraphs 1152 and 1154 of MOD Manual 11, which created ambiguity and uncertainty . 2. The applicant had complied with the Code of Discretion which seemed more relevant to his situation than paragraphs 1152 and 1154 . 46 3 . Ttre reasons given to the applicant in the letter of 3 March 1980 for his nonparticipation were wrong in law, and wrong in equity because the argumenrs were applied to the applicant and not to trade union particlpants . In acldition it appeared that the trade union represeni should have sought permission under the terms of paragraph 1154 since it was in doubt wlrether they had been acting in an official capacity and in any event paragraph 1154 is not applicable where a trade union officer's official duties directly concern the matter in question .4 . If the applicant did need permission to participate in the programme he shoul d be given credit borh for his long record of service and for acting responsbly before and during the programme, for checking the legal position and for acting with sinceritv in accorclance with his public duties as an elected representative . The applicant was informed by letter of 12 Nocember 198(1 that he had been awardecl a severe reprimand which was entered on his rc :cords. The applicant appealed against this disciplinary perialty to the Permanent Under Secretary of State pursuant to paragraphs 1515 and 1030 of MOD Manual 11 . The Permanent Under Secretary's consideration of an appeal does not involve a hearing, and no tribunal is convened, but cn 16 October 1981 the Perrnanent Uncler Secretary of State rejected the applicant's appeal in a letter setting out the reasons for the decision . In panicular the decision referred to a formal reminder that the applicant had been given in December 1973 by tie then Director or' Aldermaswn concerning the need for hini to abide strictly by the regulations concerning dealings with the media . On that occasion the applicant hacl acknowledge tha[ he had broken the rules on disclosure of ofFci:al information and had been given a formal warning to strictly comply in future with those rules . After an "exhaustive review of the papers" the Under Secretary concluded that the decision was a fair one, that tttere was no doubt that the applicant'5action was in breach af the regulations and that there was rto ambiguily in the rules or other circumstances whieh warranted this action . Accordingly the severe reprimand was confirmed . No proceedings were taken ayainst the trade union represe:itatives who participated in the brcadcast, and no actions for contempt of court were broug'ot . The applicant reluctantly accepted premature retirement on 3 0 April 1981, but is in practice preeluded from i:aking on consultancy work by the continuation of the "severe repi-imand" on his record . COMPLAINTS The applicant alleges violatioma of Articles 6, 10 alone and in conjunction with Article 14, and Article 13 of the Convention . 47 It is contended that Article 6 is at issue since the disciplinary tribunal considered and determined the applicant's right to enjoy a good reputation, a "civil right", and was violated by the siting of the tribunal's hearing at Aldermaston . Under Article 13 the applicant alleges that he had no effective remedy before an United Kingdom authority in order to have his claim decided upon and to obtain redress ; he claims damages of loss of earnings amounting to £ 112,000 . The applicant also contends that his freedom of expression was interfered with, by provisions so vaguc as not to be prescribed by law, and which were not for any of the purposes listed in Article 10 para . 2 of the Convention, and that in addition the interference was not necessary in a democratic society . Finally the applicant complains that Article 10 has been violated read in conjunction with Article 14, by virtue of the imposition of a sanction resulting fromthe applicant's participation in the television broadcast, while other employees were not sanctioned, and indeed no proceedings were taken against them, since they were trade union representatives .THELA W 1 . The applicant's representatives first wrote to the Commission in relation to this application on 1 March 1982. This letter stated that a fuller application, setting out the facts, details of the exhaustion of domestic remedies, the objects of the claim and the supporting legal arguments was to follow . Nothing further was heard from the applicant, or his representatives, until 2 August 1982, when further submissions were promised "no later than the end of September" . Nothing further was heard until 25 January 1983, when a legal memorial dated 10 April 1982 was submitted to the Commission, together with a letter from the applicant dated 17 December 1982 explaining that the delay arising in the further submission of his application was due to anxiety caused by his wife's serious illness during the course of 1982 . The application was then registered on 10 March 1983, and the Commission must now decide as to the date of its introduction . Rule 38 para . 3 of the Rulesof Procedure provides : "The date of introduction of the application shall in general be considered to be the date of the first communication from the applicant setting out, even summarily, the object of the application . The Commission may nevertheless for good cause decide that a different date be considered to be the date of introduction . " 48 The Commission has considered the contents of the applicant's first letter of 1 March 1982 in Ihe light of'.this provision and the requirements of Rule 38 parsi . I of the Rules of Procedure which provides : "Any application under Article 25 of the Convention shall set out : a. the name, age, occupation and address of the applicant ; b. the name, occupation and address of its r0preseutative if any ;c . the name of the High Contracting Party against which the application i s made ; d. as far as possible, the object of the apptication ancI the provision of tlre Convention alleged to have been violated ; e. a statement of the facts and argutnents ;J : any relevant documents ard in particular any judgment or otheract relatin g to the object of the application . " The first communieation from the applicant's representatives, w :nich is reproduced in the Appendix to the present decision, was not sufficient to constibite a full application in accordance with the requirements of Rule 38 para . 1 of th~ Rules of Procedure as in particular, it contained no statement of the facts or arguments . This was furthermore recognised ty the applicant's repreesntativics, who stai-ed that a fuller application setting om: these details and the objects of the claim would follow . Nevertheless, the Commission considers that the documents subrnitted on 1 March 1982 were sufficient to constitute the introduction of an application, since they set out, albeit summarily, the objecbof the application,whi7st ack:aowlegedging that further submissions would be required to complete the application. - • TFe Commission must therer'ore consider whether, in the light of this conclusion, 1 March 1982 may be regarded as the date of introduction of the applicatio'n, notwithstanding that the further details of the application were only submiued on 25 January 1983 . The applicant has informed the Commission that he was prevented from attending to :he preparation of the supplement to the original submissions by his wife's illness, and in this respect the Commission notes that the wife died zn May 1983 . V3hile the applicant's wife's illness was not meniioned by the applicant's representatives in their letter of 25 August 1982, the C'omrnission concludes that t1re applicant has shown that he maintained his interest in the applic3tion and in these cireumsiznces the Commission finds that the applicatiom should be eonsidere,d as having been introduced on 1 March 1982 . 7'he Conunission notes, however, that the scope of the application under the Convention is clearay ciircumscribed by theterr.ns of the applicant's representatives' original letter of 1 March 1982 . The final decision in relation to the applicant's comppaints set out in the applicant's representatives' letter of 1March 1982 was ihat of the Permanent Onder Secretary of State rejecting the applicant's appeal against the severe repriman d 49 imposed on him, which decision waseiven on 16 Oetobéi1981 . It follows that the application set out in the letter of 1 March 1982 has béen' introduced within six months of that final decision, and is to this extent in nonformity with the requirements of Article 26 of the Convention . 2. The applicant has submitted that his freedom of expression was interfered with both by the decisions relating to his appearance on the television programme, and by the subsequent disciplinary proceedings against him. He submits that the provisions upon which these actions were baséd were so vague as not to be "prescribed by law" within the meaning of Article 10 para . 2 of the Convention, and were furthermore not justified for any of the purposes referred to on that provision . Accordingly he contends that the interference with his freedom of expression was not "necessary in a democratic society" . The respondent Government have contended that the disciplinary provisions relating to the applicant's freedom of expression as a civil servant, and in particular as a civil servant employed by the Ministry of Defence, were adequately accessible, clear and precise for him to be able to regulate his conduct, and that such interferences as arose with his freedom of expression were justified as necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, and also for the protection of rights of others, those rights being the rights of the applicant's employer . Article 10 of the Convention provides as follows : "1 . Everyone hasthe right to freedom of expression . This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers . This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterp rises. 2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of thc judiciary." The Commission considers that the applicant, as an employee of the Ministry of Defence, was bound by the regulations contained in the Ministry of Defence Manual No. 11, in accordance with which he had to obtain permission in order to appear on the television broadcast in question . The rules contained in this manual were ultimately made under the authority of the Minister for the Civil Service, pursuant to Article 5 of the Civil Service Order in Council 1969, which empowered ihe Mïnister to makE rigulatiehs or give instructions for controlltng ; amongst other ihings, ttie conduct of the civil service . In addition, it is notdisputei9 that this man¢al was readily available to theâpplicant, and that he had hail occas' ..onto famiïarise himself wittt the regulations eonev,rning public utterances by civil servants on previous occasions as well as in relation to the broadcast at issue . In particular in 1978, the applicant had received a formal warning when it was found that he had broken the rules on disclosure of ofl=icial information in his dealings with the press . The Commission finds that thc regulations contained in the manual imposed conditions on the applicant's fréedoin of expression; and operated as restrictions on Ihat freeclom of expression within the terms of Article 10 para . 2 oe'the Conventiori . Nevertheless, in view of the grounding of the regulations in domestic law, the general availability of the manual, and the applicant's personal familiarity with its interpretation and appiiearion in his own case on a previous occasion the Commission concludes that the regulations in question were °presci-ibed by law" asrequiredby Article 10 para. 2 of the Convention . The applicant requested permission to iake part in the broadcast as required by the regulations in the manual ; permission was refused. Nevertheless the applicant took part in the television programme in question, and was interviewed on 27 Febivary 1980 without obtaining leave to participate in the programme ; on 3 March 19810 he was made personally aware that permission for such peuticipalion had been refùsed . He, took no sicps to ensure thaY the interview which he had provided would be deleted from the broadcast of the programme, although it appears that arrangements for this possibility kmd been made with the broadcasting aûthority . The programme, including the interview with the applicant, was broadcast on 11 March 1980 . It is established that the applicant contravened the rules and requirements of the tnanual hy participating in the television programme v3itheut having the prior pertnission of tfie Ministry of Defence and that he therefore failed to comply with the conditions and restrictions which the manual imposedon his freedcm of expression . 'rhe question which the Commissior, must consider, therefore, is whether the operation of taose conditions and restrictions was such as to be necessary in a democratic society for any of the purposes enumerated in Article 10 para . 2. The Commission notes fir,t that the conditions and restrictions themselves were not prima facie clispropoitionate or excessive . It was reasonable that an employee in a sensitive Ministry such as the, Ministry of Defence should be subject to at least some restrictions- and coriditions on his freedom of expression coneerning infotmation gained im his official capacity, especially in view of the applicant's involvement in safety questions, the nature of his place of employrnent and his comparative seniority . The aim of restrictions imposed in these circumstances is legitimate both in the light of the confidential circumstances in wltich the applicant hadreceived the information -- in the course of Itis employment - and in view of the dnties and responsibilities ivhich the exercise of freedom of expression implies, which are recognised in Arlicle 10 para. 2 of the Convention. 51 The Commission recalls in this respect its examination of restrictionsand conditions affecting freedom of expression in Kosiek v . the Federal Republic of Germany (Comm. Report 11 .5 .84, Eur. Court H.R., Series A no.105, p. 38 para. 88). It held there that : "permissible conditions affecting freedom of expression only tirise where they are necessary in a democratic society in the light of the actual duties and responsbilities which are implied by the exercise of freedom of expression . . . by a given individual . The necessity for the conditions or restrictions must therefore flow from the applieant's circumstances ." The Commission must therefore consider the specific restrictions which were imposed on the applicant in the present case . It finds that there were further special circumstances relating to the applieant's involvement in the broadeastjustifying the restriction of or the existence of conditions for such participation, beyond a general restriction on the expression of opinion by civil servants . These included the fact that the safety conditions at Aldermaston were to be discussed in the television programme by a person such as the applicant, who had first hand knowledge and experience gained in his official capacity as an employee of the Ministry of Defence . Furthermore-this programme was boradcast at a time when inquests into deaths from cancer, suspected to have been caused by radioactivity at Aldermaston, were in progress, and where claims against the Ministry of Defence were to beexpected . In the Commission's opinion these facts created circumstances in which restriction of the applicant's freedom of expression could be said to be necessary for the protection of the right of his employers . The applicant has contended that the refusal of permission for him to participate in the television programme was disproportionate in view of the fact that the reasons for his non-participation (the possibility of contempt) were incorrect . However, the Commission has noted that the existence of regulations concerning the use of information obtained by Government employees in Government service and its dissemination to the public is prima facie reasonable, and it is not required to consider the question of English law, as to whether contempt was a realistic risk which might arise from the applicant's participation in the programme . At the time that the refusal was indicated to the applicant, he still had the opportunity either to withdraw his participation in the programme, or, alternatively, to take steps to seek to have the decision changed . Although he took certain steps to this effect, it appears that the result of these steps was inconclusive at the time when the programme was actually transmitted, a fact which the applicant either ignored or did not choose to investigate . The Commission finds that the applicant cannot be excused from complying with the conditions for and restrictions on his freedom of expression and that the operation of these conditions and restrictions on the applicant were necessary .in a democratic society for the protection of the rights of the applicant's employers . 52 The applicant has also complzined of the disciplinary sanction imposed upon him as a result of the adjudication ,hat he had acted in breach of the requirements if the MOD manual . In view of the fact that the appiicant did in fact take part in _he television broadcast, although permission to do so had been refused, his complaint of an interference with his ri3ht to freedom of expr nsion inust relate to the mposition of this disciplinary sanction, which was directly linked to the exerc-ise of his freedo in of expression. The Commission notes first that the sanction was imposed for a breach .of the i-egulations concerning the applicant's employment which .regulations it has already èound were suffieiently accessible and certain to be piescribed by law . In addition it is significant that the applicant was not sanctioned for what he had said on the programme, bul for thr. fact of having pa rticipated in it follow:ing an e:xpress refusal of permission to do so . Hence the Commissicn is not called upon to examine in the present case a sanction imposed as a result of a particular opinion expressed by the applicant . .As the Commission and the Coun: have recognised in previous cases, the protection of diversity of opinion from persecution is a fundamen tal aspect of the democratic societies in which humau rights as contained in the Convention are protected . The applicant has contended tliat as a,n elected representative his freedom to partieipale in the programme was particularly important and that any restriction thereon ntust be viewed in the light of the special responsibilities which his elective office impos-d on him. Elective representatives have a special role to play in the functioning of a clemocratic society and it is to be expected that they may ftequently be called upon to give public comment through the raedia . However, the Commission considers that the "duties and responsibilities" referred to in A rticle l0 para . 2 of the .Conventiôn which also apply to elected represematives cannot be viewed in isolation . Whcre an individual who is elected representative atso has another jcb which imposes duties and responsbilities by virtue ofits nature, both sets of responslbilities must be weighed in any given circumsrances . In circumstances where these responsibilitics conflict il cannot be assumed that ati individual may opt to respec! only one set of responsibiliti es at the expense of the other. Usually the assessmant of such conflicting responsibilities is a peisonal matter. However, where, as here, the exercise of freedom of expression invo lves a responsibility on behalf of the individual towards the State in respect of his knowledge gained through his employment in a sensitive, h4iuistry, Article 10 of the Convention allows for the possibiliq that a national authority may legitimatelymake its own assessment ofsuclt conflicting'responsibilities, if it is necessary in a democratic society for one of the purposes of Article 10 para. 2 to do so . The opportunity for a national authority fegitimately to rnake such an assessment arises where the indvidual in questien has volunta rily assumed suclr responsibilities 53 vis-à-vis the State, as for example, by becoming a civil servant . This special nature of the conditions for the exercise of freedom of expression which apply to civil servants in cases such as the present was referred to in the Commission's above mentioned Report in Kosiek v . the Federal Republic of Germany (supra, para . 69) . The Commission recalls that the evaluation of the proportionality of a given restriction on freedom of expression which arises from a sanction such as that in the present case is, in the first instance, a matter for the domestic jurisdiction . The Commission's task is to decide whether the domestic decision is in conformity with the requirements of Article 10 of the Convention . The applicant's participation in the programme arose primarily because of his particular knowledge of the safety procedures at Aldermaston . During the course of the programme he referred to his activities as a County Councillor, but'the questions which he was asked and the replies which he gave arose in the context of his direct personal involvement in the safety of work at Aldermaston as an employee there . Furthermore the programme made substantial and repeated reference to the cases of employees at Aldermaston who claimed that they had been contaminated by radioactivity . In these circumstances the Commission does not find that the applicant's status as a County Councillor was so relevant to lds participation in the television programme as to substantially alter the responsibility which his employment in the Ministry of Defence legitimately imposed upon him. In consequence, the operation of the restrictions and conditions on the applicant's freedom of expression in question cannot be said to be disproportionate and it follows that this aspect of the application is manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 27 para . 2 of the Convention . 3. The applicant has also contended that the proceedings in which his disciplinary award was made involved the determination of his right to a good reputation, and thereby the determination of a "civil right" within the meaning of Article 6 of the Convention. He therefore contends that the siting of the disciplinary tribunal's hearing at Aldérmaston was contrary to Article 6 para . 1 of the Convention which provides : °1 . In the determination of his civil rights and obligations . .. everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law . . . " The Commission has held in its constant case-law that questions concerning the employment and access of individuals to the civil servicedo not involve the determination od "civil rights" within the meaning of Article 6 para . I of the Convention. The rights in question do not enjoy the private law character which is the hallmark of civil rights. Whilst it is true that the disciplinary proceedings in the present case might have had an indirect effect on the applicant's reputation, the Commission does not considerthat they can be treated as having "determined" such a right, since the 54 question of rhe applicant's reputation was not the central issue in those proceedings . The proceedings concerned only the disciplinary sphere including an assessment of the applicant's conduct to which the question of the applicant's reputation was irrelevant . In addition it has not been contended, nor does it appear, that the proceedings involved the deterniination of a crin :inal charge . It follows that these proceedirigs did not fall within the ambit of Article 6 para . 1 of the Convention and that this aspect of the applicant's complaint is incempatible with the provisions of the Convention ratione materiae within the meanirig of Article 27 oara . 2 of the Convention . 4. Finally, in the submissions of 25 January 1983, the aDplicant's representatives invoked Articles 13 and 14 of the Convention. Neither of these Articles were referred to in the let:er of 1 March 1982. The terms of that letter referred inter.alia to the absence of access to a"tribunal" within the meaning of A-.-tiele 6 para. 1 of the Convention, but this coniplaint raised neither the forin nor the substance of a complaint under Ailicle 13 . Similarly, the letter of I Mareh 1982 inade no reference to the facts in respect of which the applicant alleged discrinrinatory treatment, nor to the substance oP any alleged discrimination . Suimissions relating to these two Articles were submitted 3y the applicant's represertatives on 25 January 1983, but this is more ihan six inonths after the date of the fi?al decisioi complained of. Artiele 26 of the Convention prevents the Cornmission from oxamining matters referred to it more tian six rnoriths after the final decision complained of. It follows that this part of the application has been submitted out of time and must be rejected in accordance with Article 27 para . 3 of tlre Convenlion. For these reasons . the Commissio n DECLARES THE APPLICATION INADMISSIBLE .