In the Oliveira Neves case*,

The European Court of Human Rights, sitting, in accordance with
Article 43 (art. 43) of the Convention for the Protection of
Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms ("the Convention") and the
relevant provisions of the Rules of Court, as a Chamber composed
of the following judges:

        Mr  R. Ryssdal, President,
        Mr  J. Cremona,
        Mrs D. Bindschedler-Robert,
        Mr  F. Gölcüklü,
        Mr  J. Pinheiro Farinha,
        Mr  A. Spielmann,
        Mr  S.K. Martens,

and also of Mr M.-A. Eissen, Registrar, and Mr H. Petzold, Deputy

Having deliberated in private on 23 May 1989,

Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on the
last- mentioned date:

* Note by the Registrar.  The case is numbered 5/1989/165/221.
The first number is the case's position on the list of cases
referred to the Court in the relevant year (second number).  The
last two numbers indicate the case's position on the list of
cases referred to the Court since its creation and on the list of
the corresponding originating applications to the Commission.


1.      The case was referred to the Court by the European
Commission of Human Rights ("the Commission") on 16 March 1989,
within the three-month period laid down in Article 32 para. 1 and
Article 47 (art. 32-1, art. 47) of the Convention.  It originated
in an application (no. 11612/85) against the Republic of Portugal
lodged with the Commission under Article 25 (art. 25) by
Mrs Maria de Conceiçao Oliveira Neves, a Portuguese national, on
11 June 1985.

The Commission's request referred to Articles 44 and 48 (art. 44,
art. 48) of the Convention and to the declaration whereby
Portugal recognised the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court
(Article 46) (art. 46).  The object of the request was to obtain
a decision from the Court as to whether there had been a breach
by the respondent State of its obligations under
Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1).

2.      The Chamber to be constituted included ex officio
Mr J. Pinheiro Farinha, the elected judge of Portuguese
nationality (Article 43 of the Convention) (art. 43), and
Mr R. Ryssdal, the President of the Court (Rule 21 para. 3 (b) of
the Rules of Court).  On 30 March 1989, in the presence of the
Registrar, the President drew by lot the names of the other five
members, namely Mr J. Cremona, Mrs D. Bindschedler-Robert,
Mr F. Gölcüklü, Mr A. Spielmann and Mr S.K. Martens (Article 43
in fine of the Convention and Rule 21 para. 4) (art. 43).

3.      By a letter of 30 March 1989, the Agent of the Government
communicated to the Registrar the terms of a friendly settlement
reached with the applicant (see paragraph 10 below).  At the same
time he asked the Court whether it could accept this arrangement
and, accordingly, strike the case out of its list pursuant to
Rule 48 para. 2.

On 3 April 1989 the applicant's lawyer confirmed the agreement in

The Delegate of the Commission was consulted and stated, on
17 April, that he did not wish to make any observations.


4.      Mrs Maria de Conceiçao Oliveira Neves, a Portuguese
national born in 1932, is a poultry dealer and resides at Vila
Nova de Gaia (Portugal).

5.      On 13 March 1979 she dismissed an employee whom she had
engaged in October 1976, Mrs Maria Rosa Silva.

On 25 March 1980 her former employee instituted proceedings
against her in the fifth chamber (juizo) of the Oporto Labour
Court, composed of a single judge.  She alleged that her
dismissal was void because there had been no prior disciplinary
procedure.  In addition, she claimed 201,200 escudos in arrears
of salary and various amounts payable in compensation.

6.      On 10 April 1980 the judge ordered that the applicant be
summonsed.  She submitted her observations in reply within the
time-limit laid down.

On 2 May 1980 the registrar of the Labour Court transmitted the
file to the judge in preparation for the preliminary decision
(despacho saneador) and in order to determine the facts to be
clarified at the hearing (questionàrio).

7.      On 10 April 1982 the judge informed the parties that, in
view of the amount claimed, the case could be dealt with under a
summary procedure.  He gave them eight days to submit their lists
of witnesses.

On 14 March 1985 he set down the hearing for 11 April.  On that
date he gave his decision, finding for Mrs Silva; at the same
time he ruled that certain of the sums awarded should be
calculated in subsequent proceedings.

The defendant did not lodge an appeal.


8.      In her application of 11 June 1985 to the Commission
(no. 11612/85), Mrs Oliveira Neves complained of the length of
the proceedings instituted against her in the Oporto Labour
Court.  She relied on Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) of the

9.      The Commission declared the application admissible on
17 December 1987.  In its report of 15 December 1988 (Article 31)
(art. 31), it expressed the unanimous opinion that there had been
a violation of Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1).  The full text of
its opinion is reproduced as an annex to this judgment1.

1 Note by the Registrar: For technical reasons this annex will
appear only with the printed version of the judgment (volume
153-B of Series A of the Publications of the Court), but a copy
of the Commission's report is obtainable from the registry.


10.     The Government and the applicant have reached the
following friendly settlement (see paragraph 3 above):

"... Article 1 - Mrs Oliveira Neves agrees to accept the sum of
1,300,000 (one million three hundred thousand) escudos as
compensation from the Portuguese Government, constituting full
and final reparation for all the material and non-material damage
alleged in this case and also covering all the lawyers' fees and
other costs incurred.

Article 2 - Mrs Oliveira Neves undertakes, subject to the payment
of the aforementioned sum, not to proceed with the case pending
before the Court and not to institute any subsequent proceedings
in this connection against the Portuguese State, in the domestic
or international courts.

Article 3 - Mrs Oliveira Neves accepts that this sum of 1,300,000
(one million three hundred thousand) escudos will be paid by the
Portuguese Government immediately following the decision of the
European Court of Human Rights to strike the case out of its list
pursuant to Rule 48 para. 2 of the Rules of Court."

The Government invited the Court to approve this settlement in
accordance with Rule 48 para. 2 of the Rules of Court, which
provides as follows:

"When the Chamber is informed of a friendly settlement ... it
may, after consulting, if necessary, ... the Delegates of the
Commission ..., strike the case out of the list."

The Commission's Delegate has been consulted and has raised no
objection (see paragraph 3 above).

11.     The Court takes formal note of the friendly settlement
reached by the Government and the applicant.  It would
nevertheless be open to the Court, having regard to its
responsibilities under Article 19 (art. 19) of the Convention, to
decide to continue its examination of the case if a reason of
public policy appeared to necessitate such a course (Rule 48
para. 4).  However, it finds no such reason.

In this connection, the Court notes that it has had to review the
"reasonableness" of the length of "civil" proceedings, in
Portugal (see the following judgments, Guincho, 10 July 1984;
Baraona, 8 July 1987; Martins Moreira, 26 October 1988 and
Neves e Silva, 27 April 1989; Series A nos. 81, 122, 143 and
153-A respectively), and in other countries (see the following
judgments, König, 28 June 1978; Buchholz, 6 May 1981; Zimmermann
and Steiner, 13 July 1983; Pretto and Others, 8 December 1983;
Deumeland, 29 May 1986; Erkner and Hofauer, 23 April 1987; Poiss,
23 April 1987; Lechner and Hess, 23 April 1987; Capuano,
25 June 1987; H. v. United Kingdom, 8 July 1987 and Bock,
29 March 1989; Series A nos. 27, 42, 66, 71, 100, 117-B, 117-C,
118, 119-A, 120-B and 150).  In so doing, it clarified the nature
and extent of the obligations undertaken in this area by the
Contracting States.

Accordingly, it is appropriate to strike the case out of the


Decides to strike the case out of the list.

Done in English and in French, and notified in writing under
Rule 54 para. 2, second sub-paragraph, of the Rules of Court, on
25 May 1989.

Signed: Rolv RYSSDAL

Signed: Marc-André EISSEN