(TRANSLATION) THE FACTS The facts of the case as s ubmitted by t he parties may be summarised as follows . The applicant is a German national born in 1924 . He lives ai W ilhelmsfeld (Baden-Württemberg), where he works as a management consultant. In 1977 he lodged an application ( No. 7900/77) cu ncerning a fine imposed by the administrative authorities for unlawful professional assisiance in tax matters. The application was declared inadmissible on 6 March 1 978 . A fu rther application (No . 9163180), likewise concerning a fine imposed hy the administrative authorities, was declared inadmissible on 3 March 1982 . First set of procceding,s On 8 August 1975 the applicant applied for unemployment assistance (Arbeitslose nhilfe) on the ground that he had given up his self-employed activi[ies. 60 On 25 September 1975 the Fede ral Employment Agency (Bundesanstalt für Arbeit) refused t he application . The applicant's appeal against the decision (Wider- spruch) was unsuccessful . On 3 November 1 975 he brought proceedings in Mannheim Social Security Court (Sozialgericht) claiming unemployment assistance . On 20 January 197 6 he also appl ied [o the court u nder Article 43 of the Social Security Code ( Sozialgesetzbuch) for a declaration of entidement to prov isional benefit d uring the proceedings. This was initially registered as an action for a declarati on (Feststellungsklage) of entitlement to prov isional benefit b ut on 26 June 1 976, the president of the chamber dealing w ith the case having ruled that it was not a separate action and Article 43 of the Soc ial Security Code did not apply and that the object of the application was the same as thut of the proceedings instituted on 3 November 1 975, the application was joined to the file in those proceedings. In its judgmem of 16 August 1 977 the court r uled that before his declaration of unemployment t he applicant had been engaged in self-employed work which entided him to assistance a nd set aside the decision of 25 September 1 975. [t ordered the Pederal Employ ment Agency to pay unemployment assistance, the amount to be determined by the Agency. (The Agency eventually paid the assistance by decision of 5 December 1979.) The Agency appealed to Baden-Württemberg Regional Social Secur ity Court (Landessozialgericht) against the Mannheim Social Security Court's judgment of 1 6 August 1 977, on the ground that the applicant did not qualify for unemployment assistance. On 9 February 1978 the applicant filed a cross-appeal (Anschlussberufung). On 9 May 1 978, after a quick examination of the fi le, the reporting judge decided that the case was ready to be dealt with and, taking account of the court's workload. that the hearing would be held in the following six months. After a subsequ ent more detai izd examination, however, it was realised (hat the case was not ready and that there were a number of questions still to be resolved. On 1 1 January 1979 the court asked the applicant for funher information . The applicant replied on 8 February 1 979. The Federal Employment Agency did not submit its comments on the information until 3 ]Wy 1979, xfter two reminders from the cuurt. Between 12 July and 14 September 1979 the applicant and the Federal E mployment Agency several times lodgcd further submissions and observations . On 15 November 1979 the appl icant wrote to the Agency requesting prov isional benefit and his administrative file was sent to them. This meant the proceedi ngs had to be discontinued until the file was returned, o n 8 July 1 980. The file 61 was only returned after t he court had repeatedly asked for it back (on 1 8 January, 6 February, 28 March, 16 May and 1 July 1 980) . On 8 and 3 1 January, 1 1 , 17, 21 and 30 April, 7 May, 12 and 30 June, and 2 September 1980 [he applicant lodged further submissions . The court asked him for further evidence on 12 M ay, 19 June, 28 July, 26 August . 1 7 September and 2 Octobe r 1980. On 29 October 1980 the court decided to hold a hearing to consider how the investigation should proceed . At the hearing, on 25 November 1980, it decided to request funher administrative files concern ing the applicant . These reached it during February 198 1 . On 30 Apr il 1981 the case was declared ready and a hearing was set for 26 May 1981 . The applicant , however, asked the court to rule without oral proceed ings and the court gave its decision on 1 6 June 1 981 . It set aside the challenged judgment and dismissed the applieant's cross-appeal. It ruled that he was not eligible for unemployment assi stance as he had not shown that he had been engaged in self-employed work for at least ten weeks during the year preceding his declaration of unemployme m . In addition, he had not definitively given up his self-employed work and was not prepared to accept offers of work made to him by the Employment Office (Arbeitsamp . he was refused leave appeal on points of law (Revision) . He appealed against the refusal of leave to appeal on points of law, cla iming that the Baden-Württemberg Regional Social Security Court had not asked him for evidence of his qualifications or availability for work and had not taken evidence from one of his witnesses . In addition , he complained that thejudgment had not dealt with the action for a declaration of entitlement to provisional benefit which he had instituted on 20 January 1976 and which, as far as he was aware, had been joined to the main action. On 25 M arch 1982 the Federal Social Secur ity Court (Bundessozialgericht) declared the appeal inadmissible as not meeting the requirements laid down in the Code of Social Security Procedure (Sozialgerichtsgesetz) . In so far as the applicant had complained of proceAural defects, it noted that in finding him ineligible for unemployment assistance the Regional Court had based its decision on his failure to meet the requirement of having engaged in self-employed work for at Izast ten weeks in the year preceding the dularation of unemployment and that the Regional Court's findings concerning his availabi liry for employment and his qualifications had only been supponing reasons. Insofar as he had complained that the Regional Court had refused ro take evidence from oce of his witnesses, t he Federal Court held that he had not shown what bearing the testimony had on the case or why [he refusal to hear it was unjustified. Lastly, it found that no action for a declaration was joined to the action referred to it and stated that if any such action existed it must stili be pending before Mannheim Social Security Court . 62 The applicant filed a constitutional appeal . In particular, he relied on Artic les 12 (freedom of choice of occ upation) and 103 (the right to a hearing in accorda nce with the statutory procedure) of the Basic Law (Grundgesetz) . He also relied on Article 6 para. 1 of the Convention, alleg ing that the proceedings had been unfair and had taken [oo long. He lodged further submissions with the Constitutional Court on 11 June 1 982, 17 July 1 982, 26 October 1982, 22 February 1983, 21 June 1 983 and 1 8 July 1983 . On 23 September 1983 the Constitutional Co urt disallowed the appeal on the grounds that it was partly inadmissible and that the remainder did not offer sufficient prospects of success . It ruled Ihat insofar as the appeal challenged the judgment of the Federal Social Security Court it did not meet the legal requirements because it did not contain a proper statement of reasons . Insofar as the applicant alleged that the proceedings before the Regional Social Security Court had been unfair, the appeal was likewise inadmissible whether in that it did not contain a proper statement of reasons or in that it did not offer s ufficient prospects of success. Second set of proceedings On 23 March 1984 the applicant wrote to Mannheim Social Security Court complaining that no dccision had been taken in his action for a declaration of entitlement to provisional benefit and that the action was s till pending. His letter was registered as a new action. Mannheim Social Security Court delivered judgment on 2 December 1985 . Noting that no other action was pending and that the new application was late, it dismissed it . On 27 February 1 986 the applicant appealed. On 3 September 1 987 Baden-Württemberg Regional Social Security Coun rejected the appeal on the ground that the applicant did not have a legitimate interest. Third set ofprnceedings On 13 August 1981, i.e. after the Baden-Württemberg Social Security Court decision of 16 June 198 1 , the Federal Employment Agency demanded repayment of 30,652 DM in benefit wrongly paid to the applicant. This was reduced to approximately 18,000 DM after an objection (Widerspruch) from the applicant. The applicant brought proceedings in Mannheim Social Security Court alleging that the Employment Agency dema nd was contrary to the Employment Promotion Act. On 10 March 1983 Mannheim Social Security Court partly allowed the appl i- cant's action and reduced the amount of the demand to approximately 9,000 DM . The applicant appealed to Baden-Wûrttemberg Regional Social Security Court . 63 On 2 July 1984, by interlocutory decision of the Regional Social Security Coun, the proceedings were suspended at the request of both parties. On 7 December 1987 the Federal Employment Agency asked the Regional Social Security Court to resume consideration of the case . Relevant legislation Germany's Employment Promotion Act (Arbeitsfôrderungsgesetz) provides for two types of unemployment allowances : i. Unemploymen t benefit (Arbeitslosengela~, which is governed by Sections 100 et seq. of the Act, is payable to persons who lose paid employment and have contributed to the unemployment insurance scheme for a specified ti me. The period for which unemployment benefit is paid depends on the length of time for which contributions were paid (Section 106 of the Act). ii. Unemployment assistance (Arbeitslosenhilfe), governed by Sec tions 1 34 et seq. of the Act : " Section 134 Eligibility (1) Unemployment assistance shall be payable to persons who : I . are unemployed, are available to take up employment, have regi stered as unemployed wi th the Employment Office and have applied for unemployment assistance ; 2. are not entitled to unemployment benefit beca use they have not paid contributions for the required length of time (Section 104) ; 3. are in need, a nd 4. during the year preceding the date on which the other conditions of entitlement to unemployment assistance must be met , a. drew unemployment benefit, ro which the ir entitlement did not cease by virtue of Section 1 19 (3) ; b. were in paid employment for at least 150 days, or at least 240 days if the last period of entitlement to unemployment benefit or to unemployment assis tance ended by virtue of Section 119 (3), or w ho qualify by v irtue of a period of time which is reckonable for purposes of granting those benefits (Anwartschaftszeit) ; 64 Section 736 Amount of unemployment assistance ( I ) The amount of unemploymen[ assistance payable is in the case of unemployed persons with one or more children with in the mwning of Section 32 (l), (4) and (5) of the ]ncome Tax Act, or unemployed persons whose spouses have one or more children within the mea ning of Sect ion 32 ( 1), (4) and (5) of the Incume Tax Act, where the two spouses are unrestrictedly liable to income tax and are na permanendy separaied, 58% of the salary (Arbeitsentgelt) less any statutory deductions to which employees' pay is customarily subject ; 2. in the case of othcr unemployed persons 56% of the salary . Section 188 The cost, other than admini strative costs, of unemployment assistance . .. shall be paid by the Federation . " The decree of 7 August 1 974 under which the applicant submitted his appli- cation for unemployment assistance provides as follows : "Article l Basis ol entillement lo unemployment assistance where Ibe claimant was not in paid employment o r was only in pan-time pa id employmem within the meaning of Sect ion 1 34 ( 1) (4) (b) of the Employment Promotion Act the paid employment requirement shall bc met : 3. where the claimant's main work fell within the scope of the Employment Promotion Act and he performed that work either i n a self-employed capacity or for a self-employed person as a member of that person's family and provided the cessation of the work was not temporary only." COMPLAIN'CS The applicant complains that he was not given a fair hearing . He alleges tha[ the Regional Social Security Court ruled hi m to be ineligible for unemployment assistance without having sufficient evidence and without holding an adversarial hearing o n all the lega l and factual issues. He al so complains about the leng[h of the proceedings. 65 He maintains that neither his application for unemployment assistance nor his action for a declaration of entitlement to provisional bene fit were determined within a reasonable time . He relies on Article 6 para. 1 of the Convention. THE LAW The applicant complai ns that he was not given a fair hearing and that the proceed ings concerning his application for unemployment ass istance were of unreasonable length. He relies on Article 6 para. 1 of the Co nvention. Article 6 para. 1 , first sentence, of the Convention reads : " In the determination uf his civil rights and obl igations or of any cri minal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a (air and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law . " The tirst question the Commission has to decide is whether the above provision is a pplicable in th e prese nt case. As there c an bz n o do ubt that the proceed ings d id not conce rn a criminal c harge against t he applicant, the Commiss i on will fi rs[ly conside r whether there was a dispute concerning a right and, if so, whether the r ight was a civil r ight (Eur. Court H .R., Benthem jud gment of 23 October 1985, Series A no. 97, pp . 14 et seq., paras . 30 et seq.). The Commission firsily notes tha t the German social security courts were Jealing with a genuine and serious dispute (Eur. Coun H.R., Sporrong and Lônnroth judgment of 23 September 1 982, Series A no. 52, p. 30, para. 81 ) and had to decide whether a right (entitlernent to unemploy ment assistance) actually existed (Eur. Court H. R., Lecompte, Van Leuven and De Meyere judgment of 23 June 1 981, Series A no . 43, p. 22, para. 49) . It accordingly finds that the case involved the determination of a right within the meaning o f Article 6 para. 1 of the Conventinn, as indeed is common ground. To determine whether the right was a civ il right, the Commission firstly refers Io the established case-law ofthe European Court nnd Commission of Human Rights . according to which the concept of civil rights and obligations cannot be inlerpreied solely hy refere nce to the domest ic law of the respondent State. Article 6 dces not cover only pri vate law disputes in the comentional sense - that is, disputes betwee n individuals or between an individual xnd the State to the extent that the latter acted as a private person, subject to private law, and not in its sovereign capacity . Accordingly, the nature of the legisla tion which governs how the matte r is to be determined and that of the authority which has jurisdiction in the matter is immaterial . All that matters is the nature of the right at issue (Eur. Court H.R., Kônig 66 judgment of 28 June 1 978, Series A no. 27, pp . 29-30, paras. 88-90 ; Eur. Court H .R ., Bemhem judgmem , loc. cit., p. 16, para . 34) . The right at issue here wa s ent itlement to unemploy ment assistance and therefore came within the soc ial security field. In the cases of Feldbrugge Qudgment of 29 May 1 986, Se ries A no. 99) and Deunieland (judgment of 29 May 1 986, Series A no . 100) the European Court of Human Rights considered whether Article 6 para. 1 of the Convention was applica ble to disputes concerning entitlement to social security benefit . In these two judgme nts it laid down a number of principles for deciding whether a given dispute about entitlement to social security benefit could be regarded as a dispute about civil rights or obligations as protected by Article 6, and set out criteria for deciding whether a right was a pu blic law right or a private law right. The Court's criteria for a public law right are the public law character of the relevant domestic law, the compulsory nature of the insurance, and State assumption of responsibility for social protection, while its criteria for a private law right are the personal and economic nature of the right, connection with the contract of employment, and affinities of the insurance scheme with insurance gove rned by ordinary l aw (Feldbrugge judgmem , (or. clt., pp. 12-1 6, paras . 28-40 and Deumeland judgment, loc. cit., pp. 22-26, paras. 62-74). As regards the righl involved in the present case, the Commission observes thai the grant of unemployment assista nce is governed by Sections 1 34 et seq. of the Federal Employment Promotion Act, which forms pan of German welfare luw and which domestic law treats as fall ing with in the sphere of public law . Funharmore, in addition to having to meet the prime requirement of being uneinployed, a claimant must, to receive unemployment assistance , be in need and ineligible for unemployment benefi[ (Section 134 of the Employment Pro motion Act), unempl oy ment benefit being the allowance payable to unemployed people who are insured and have contributed to the statutory unemployment i nsurance scheme. La+tly, the unemployment assistance scheme is not only administered by State bodies but also wholly financed by the State ( Section 188 of the Employment Promoti on Act) . Thc Commission notes that there is an important difference here between unernployment assista nce and unemployment benefit , the unemployment benefit scheme being funded by the direct contributions which employees in the scheme pay to the Federal Employme nt Agency. Unempluyment assistance, which in national law is supplementary to unemployment be nefil, consequently appears in principle to be a Siale welfare benefil which dces not involve any insurance relationship between the beneficiary and the bo dy paying the benefit or any direct contribution by the beneGciary io the unemployment i nsurance scheme. The Commission infers from this th at the right at issue has a number of public law team res in Ihat it is governed by legislation falling w ithin the sphe re of public 67 law, the State runs and finances the scheme, and ihere is no insurance relationship or pri or contribution to the scheme by the beneficiary. The appl icant, who does not deny these features, nonetheless points to private law aspects of the entitlemem Io unemploymenl assistance. He argues that the personal a nd eronomic nature of the right and ils conneci ion wilh the employment convact are sufficient Io m ake it a civil right within the meaning of Article 6 para . I o( the Convention . The Commission firstly observes that the applicant claimed "a right flowing from specific rules laid down by the legislation in force" and accordingly takes the view that the right was of a personal and economic nature (Eur. Court H .R., Deumelxnd judgment, loc. cit., p. 24, para. 71) . It notes that there was less connection with an employment contract than in the Deumeland and Feldbrugge cases : the only connection with an employment contract in the present case is that the amount of the benefit is based on the salary the beneficiary was earning before he became unemployed . Any connection between the right at issue and the emp loyment contract is all the weaker in that the applicant, who was self-employed, appl ied fnr unemployment assistunce under the decree of 7 A ugust 1974, which assimi lates the selfempl oyed to sa laried em ployees. Having examined the case in the light of the Co urt 's case-law, the Commission finds that the right at issue in the procee din gs in ques tion showcd a cleur prcdomi - nance of p ublic law fea[ures. It co nsiders that the pub l ic law nature o f the right i s rdled in quest ion neither hy Anicle 9 of the Internai ional Cove nant on Eco nomic, Social a nd Cultural Rights, nur by the mere fact tha t granting of t he benefit wo u ld have i ncreased the monthly amount of the a pp licant's fumre ol d -age pensio n, nor by t he fact th ai the Federal Employment Age ncy dema nd ed repaynient of benefit w rongly paid to the appli cant . Such considera tions have nothing Io do with the acmal nat u re o ( the right, which is the only relevant factor. The Commission accordingly holds that the right was not a civil right within the meaning of Article 6 para. I of the Convention . The application is therefore i ncompatible ratione materiae with the provisions of the Convention within the mea ning of Article 27 para. 2. For these reasons, the Commiss ion DECLAR ES TH8 APPLICATION INADMISSIBLE . 68