(TRANSLA TION) THE FACTS The applicant, a Portuguese national , was born in 1943 ; he is a bus driver by profession and resides at Vila Nova de Famalicao. In the proceedings before the Commission, he is represented by Mr. Joaquim Loureiro, a lawye r practising in Vi la Nova de Famalicao. The fac[s of t he case, as sub mitted by t he parties, may be summarised as fOIIUWS . On 23 January 1977, the applicant was wounded i n the head by a gunshot fired by one of his brothers-i n-law, Mr. Bernardo Sousa, follow ing an altercation between M r . Sousa, the applicant and hi s brother. The applicant was rushed to the Sao Joao de Pono hospital where he remained until 2 February 1 977 . On 23 January 1 977, the assailant was arrested by the police who reported the matter to the Public Prosecutor. The Public Prosecutor orde red that he be brought beTore the investigating judge for ques[ioning. 12 1 The stages of the criminal proceedings in the present case were as follows : a. initial enquiry ("inquérito preliminar"), b. preliminary investigation (" instmçao preparat6ria"), ç . adversarial investigation (" instruçao co ntradictoire") and d. the trial . a. Initial enquiry ("inquérim preliminar ") from 24 January 1977 tn 21 May 1980 On 24 January 1 977, the investigating judge considered that the applican['s assailant had been lawfully arrested since he had been caught in the act ofcommitting an offence. However, the investigating judge, considering tha[ in Ihis case there was not sufficient evidence of attempted intentional homicide, ordered that the assai lant be provisionally relzased on bail of I0,000 escudos. He also ordered that the file be sent to the Public Prosewtor who would pursue the investigation. The same day and again on 31 Ianuary 1977, t he assailant. who had also been wounded, underwent medical examinations by o rder of the Public Prosecutor. The Ixst examination concluded that the assailant no longer had any injury. On 1 7 February 1 977, the applicant was examined by a doctor, w ho asked for access to the medical report drawn up by the Sao Joao de Porto hospital . This report was sent to the doctoc on 2 1 March 1977 . On 23 March 1977, the Public Prosecutor o rdered that the applicant undergo a funher medical examination on 28 March 1977 . On tha t date, the medical expen considered that the injuries resulting from the attack o n the applicant had caused him to be unfit for work for 90 days. On 28 April 1977, he considered that the applicant still required 30 days' leave as he remained unfit for work . On 26 May 1977 , the doctor observed that the applicant had recovered , but requested ihat he be examined by an eye specialist and an ear, nose and th roat specialist. On 2]une 1977, the applicant applied to part icipate as an "assistente" in the prelimi nary investigation. The Public Prosecutor forwarded this request lo the imestigeting judge who granted the applicant's request on I S Iune 1 977 . On 18 October and 7 November 1977, the applicant was exarnined by a n eye specialist and an ear, nose and throat specialist ; the former thought that the applicant should also be examined by a neurologist. The Public Prosecutor ordered this examination on 16 January 1978, and the Director of the Oporto medical faculty intimated by leqer of 1 March 1978, that the examination would take place o n 24 October 1978. 122 On 9 March 1978, the Public Prosecutor decided to suspend the investigation until 2 October 1978. The report of the medical examination, dated 10 January 19 79, concluded th at the applicant n eeded an elec trce ncephnlogram and a further neurological ezaminat ion. On 3 October 1979, the Public Prosecutor decided to order a further neurological examination of the applicant. On ] 8 February 1980, the Director ofthe Oporto medical facully informed the Public Prosewtor that , given the heavy workload, lhe applicant could noi be examined unt il 1981 . On 29 April 1980, the Public Prosecutor decided to have the appl icant examined by the court medical officer, who was invited to express an opinion in particular as to whether the assailant had acted with "intention ro cause death " . On 8 Ma y 1 980, the court medical officer submined his report concluding Ihat the ass ailant had acted with "intention to cause death " . In view of this report, the Public Prosecutor transmitted the file to the investigating judge on 21 May 1 980 and asked him to open the preliminary investigation . b. Preliminnry investigation fro m 26 May 1980 io 5 July 1984 An initial order by the investigating judge on 26 May 1980, prescribing that the various medical reports be examined by the Council of Forensic Medicine ("Conselho Médico-Legal"), in accordance with A rtic1e200 of the Code ofCriminal Procedure , appears not to have been carried oui . In July 1982, the invest igating judge requested the Public Proseculor to give an opinion as to whether an amnesry law should be applied. By letter of 13 October 1982, the applicant complained that an appl ication he had made to the investigating judge on 8 March 1982 for a further examination by the court medical officer had not been placed in the file. He also complained of the delays in the proceedings. On 1 9 November 1982 , the court medical o(ficer decided that the applicant should undergo a further neurological examinatioa This examination took place on 8 March 1983 and the report was sent to the investigating judge on 5 July 1983 . By order of 2 1 March 1984, the imestigating judge asked the court medical officer Io write a report in v iew of the observations submitted by the Oporto Co uncil of Forensic Medicine in accordance with Article 200 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. 123 O n 14 May 1984, the investigating judge decided to question the applicant and the accused. The interviews were sc heduleA for 24 May 1984. The applicant was questioned o n ihat date b ut the accused was unwell and did not appear. On 25 May 1984, the applicant asked for five witnesses to be heard. By order of 28 May 1984 , the invesiigating judge decided that the accused would he questioned on 7 Iune 1984 . However, the bail iff was unable to notify the accused of th is order since he had vbsented h imself for an indefinite period. On 6 June 1984, the judge i ssued a summons in respect of the accused. On 14 J unc 1984, the judge questioned the w imesses named by the appl icam . On I July 1984, the responsible ofticial informed the judge [hat he was not able to serve the a forementioned summons since the accused had disappeared. On 5 July 1984, the investigating judge declared the preliminary investigation closed and transmitted the file to the Public Prosecutor who, on 10 July 1984, asked ihat the adversarial investigation proceedings be opened and delivered the charges ("acusaçao") . c. .ldversurial investigation ("insfruÇn o con[rndi«Sriu ") frum 16 Jidp 1984 to 27 July 1984 On 16 July 1 984, the investigating judge declared the advcrsarial investigation proceedings open . They were closed on 27 July 1984 a nd the file was sent to the Public Prosecutor to enable him to maintain or modify the charges (awsaçao) against the accused, d. The trial At the trial hearing, the appticant allegedly claimzd payment of compznsation . By judgment of 1 8 February 1985, the Vila Nova de Famalicao co urt of firs( instance acquitted the applicant's assailant of the charge of attempted homicide but sentenccd him to 14 mo nths' imprisunmeN for assu uh and wounding. The Court also ordered the assai lant to pay the applicant compe nsation, the amount nf which was to be determined in the enforcement procezdings ("liyuidnçno em execuçao de sentença") in accordance with Article 34 pana . 3 of the Code of Cri minal Procedure . Both the applicant and his assailant appealed against this ruling. By judgmeN of 30 October 1985, the Oporto Co urt of Appeal ("tribunal de relaçao") rejected the appeals but considered that the five-year time limit for the prosecution had expired. 1 24 The applicant then appealed to the Supreme Court ("Supremo Tribunal de Justiça"). By judgment of 7 May 1986, the Supreme Court upheld the Appeal Court's ruling. COMPLAINTS The applicant complains of the length of the proceedings relating to the criminal action instituted by the Public Prosecutor on 24 Janu ary 1977 in the Vila Nova de Famali cao court of firsi instance. In panicular, he submits that Ihe length of the proceedings meant that hi s assailant did not serve the prison sentence he had been given. He considers that the length of the proceedings was due solely to the conduct of the Portuguese authorities, who were responsible for the poor functioning of their courts. He wncludes that, as a res ult, his right of access Io the courts was not respected and alleges that, in this respect, there has been a violation of Artide 6 para . 1 of the Convention. THE LAW (Extract) Before ihe Commission, the applicant alleges that there has been a violation of Article 6 of the C onventi on, considering that the length of the crimina] proceedings instituted in January 1977 in the Vila Nova de Famalicao court of firsf instance dces not co mply with the requirement of ° reasonable time" set forth in para graph I of that A rticle. The respondent Government raise a[further] objection as regards the failure to exhaust domestic remedies . In that connection, they allege that the applicant did not avail himself of the remedies which could have rectified the situation of which he complains ; in particular, he could have entered an application that would have speeded up proceedings by relying on Articles 192, 337 and 338 of the Code of Criminal Procedure or lodged a complaint with the Attorney General on the basis of Article 337 para. 3 of that Code. Furthermore, the Government contend that the applicant could have elected to bring an action in the civil courts, as provided for by Anicle 30 of the Code o f Criminal Procedure on certain conditions which were satisfied i n this case. Lastly, the Government allege that the applicant was free to bring an action for damages against the State in th e administrative court by virtue of Article 2 1 of the Constitution and Legislative Decree No. 48051 of 21 November 1967 . The Commission considers firsi of all that the requests to the judge handling the case or to the Attorney General in order to speed up proceedings are not remedies 125 within the meaning of Article 26 of the Convention . Such steps or their absence are taken into consideration in the examination of the applicant's conduct when deciding on the merits of the application, i.e. whether the length of the proceed ings exceeded a reasonable time. The Commission refers to its case-law (cf. No . 8961/80, Dec. 8.12.81, D .R. 26 p. 200 ; No. 8990/80, Dec. 6.7.82, D. R. 29 p. 1 29) . Similarly, the Commission considers thai the Government's argument relating to the fact that the applicant failed to bring an action for damages in the civi l courts in accordance with Article 30 of the Code of Criminal Procedure does not raise any problem of exhaustion of domestic remedies but of the merits of the application, i .e. whether the applicant had means of obtaining a speedier decision on his civil rights and obligations . Yet the objection raised by the Government is nevertheless the non-exhaustion of domestic remedies, when they allege that the applicant could have brought an action for civil liability against the Siale before ihe administrative court by virtue of the Leg islative Decree of 2 1 November 1967. The Commmission refers here to the Coun's case-law according to which an action for damages in the admin istrative couns co ncerning the l iability of public authorities may, in some cases, be a remedy which would p robably be effec tive and sufficient for the purposes of Art icle 2 6 of the Convention (Eur. Co urt H .R., Bozano judgmenl of 18 December 1986, Series A no. 111, p. 2 1 , para . 49). However, the Government did not show that Legi slative Decree No . 48051 of 21 November 1967 governing the State's non-contractual liability applies to cases concerning the l eng[h of proceedings, either pending or concluded, in the competent Portuguese eourts Referring to its own case-law (see No. 8990/80, Dec. 6.7 .82, D .R. 29 pp. 129, 140), the Commission considers that such an action does not constitute a n effective and sufficient remedy within the meaning of Article 26 of the Convention. In these circumstances, the Commission takes the view that the appl icant must be regarded as having exhausted all domestic remedies . 1 26