AS TO THE ADMISSIBILITY


Application No. 12972/87
by Eric PORTER
against the United Kingdom


        The European Commission of Human Rights sitting in private on
9 November 1987, the following members being present:

                MM.  C.A. NØRGAARD, President
                     S. TRECHSEL
                     G. SPERDUTI
                     E. BUSUTTIL
                     G. JÖRUNDSSON
                     A.S. GÖZÜBÜYÜK
                     A. WEITZEL
                     J.C. SOYER
                     H.G. SCHERMERS
                     H. DANELIUS
                     G. BATLINER
                     J. CAMPINOS
                Mrs.  G.H. THUNE
                Sir  Basil HALL
                MM.  F. MARTINEZ
                     C.L. ROZAKIS
                Mrs.  J. LIDDY

                Mr.  J. RAYMOND, Deputy Secretary to the Commission


        Having regard to Article 25 of the Convention for the
Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;

        Having regard to the application introduced on 21 June 1986
by Eric PORTER against the United Kingdom and registered on 9 June
1987 under file No. 12972/87;

        Having regard to the report provided for in Rule 40 of the
Rules of Procedure of the Commission;

        Having deliberated;

        Decides as follows:

THE FACTS

        The applicant is a United Kingdom citizen, born in 1923, and
an electrical engineer by profession.  He resides in Saffron Walden.

        His complaints arise from a dispute with his landlord over his
tenancy of a farm cottage.  The landlord commenced possession
proceedings against the applicant in 1982.  These proceedings ended on
14 March 1983 in the applicant's favour.  Subsequently major repairs
were needed to the cottage and the applicant vacated it to enable the
work to be done.  His landlord again commenced possession proceedings
on 6 February 1985.  The competent County Court found in the
landlord's favour on 3 August 1985.  The Court of Appeal ordered stays
of execution of that decision pending the outcome of the applicant's
appeal, which was dismissed on 20 January 1986.  Leave to appeal to
the House of Lords was refused by the Court of Appeal on 5 March 1986,
and the applicant was informed by the Judicial Office of the House of
Lords on 5 June 1986 that his direct application for leave had also
been refused by the House of Lords.  As was later explained by the
Judicial Office, in a letter dated 17 June 1986, the latter refusal
was not only because the application had been made out of time, but
also because it was considered that the points raised in the petition
were not of "the type and importance to justify any further
proceedings in the House of Lords".


COMPLAINTS

        The applicant complaints of the delay by the Court of Appeal
in refusing him leave to appeal to the House of Lords, thus obliging
him to make his direct leave application to the House of Lords out of
time.  He also complains of the House of Lords procedures which are
held in camera and against which, if leave is refused, there is no
right of appeal.  The applicant invokes Articles 6 and 13 of the
Convention.


THE LAW

1.      The applicant has first complained of the delay between
20 January and 5 March 1986 in the Court of Appeal's decision to
refuse him leave to appeal to the House of Lords about a civil,
tenancy dispute.  He claims that the said delay obliged him to appeal
out of time to the House of Lords.

        The applicant invoked Article 6 (Art. 6) of the Convention, the
relevant part of which provides as follows:

        "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..."

        However, the Commission notes that the applicant was not
refused leave to appeal by the House of Lords itself solely because he
had failed to lodge his direct application in time, but also because
his was not deemed to be a suitable case for which leave to appeal
should be granted.  In view of this latter element, the Commission
concludes that the applicant in fact suffered no procedural prejudice
through the Court of Appeal's delay and, therefore, the applicant
cannot claim to be a victim of a violation cf Article 6 para. 1 (Art. 6-1)
of the  Convention.  This aspect of the case must accordingly be rejected as
being manifestly ill-founded, within the meaning of Article 27 para. 2
(Art. 27-2) of the Convention.

2.      The applicant has next complained of the in camera nature
of the leave to appeal proceedings before the House of Lords, against
whose refusal of leave there is no right of appeal.  He has again
invoked Article 6 (Art. 6) of the Convention.

        However, the Commission recalls its constant case-law that the
Convention does not guarantee a right of appeal (cf.  No. 8299/78,
Dec. 10.10.80, D.R. 22 p. 51, para. 22).  No provision of the
Convention requires the High Contracting Parties to grant persons
within their jurisdiction a  supreme court appeal on important legal
questions.  If a High Contracting Party makes provision for such an
appeal, it is entitled to prescribe the provisions by which this
appeal shall be governed and fix the conditions under which it may be
brought.

        The Commission is of the opinion that when a supreme court,
like the House of Lords, conducts a preliminary examination of a case
in order to establish whether or not the conditions required for
granting leave to appeal have been fulfilled, it is not determining
"civil rights and obligations" within the meaning of Article 6 para. 1
(Art. 6-1) of the Convention (cf. mutatis mutandis No. 6916/75, Dec. 12.3.76,
D.R. 6 p. 101 and No. 10515/83, Dec. 2.10.84 to be published in D.R.
40).

        The Commission concludes that Article 6 para. 1 (Art. 6-1) of the
Convention does not apply to the preliminary proceedings on leave to
appeal before the House of Lords and that, therefore, this aspect of
the applicant's case must be rejected as being incompatible ratione
materiae with the provisions of the Convention, in accordance with
Article 27 para. 2 (Art. 27-2).

3.      The applicant also complained of an absence of effective
domestic remedies in respect of his Convention grievances, contrary to
Article 13 (Art. 13) of the Convention.  However, the Commission finds
no separate issue arises under this provision of the Convention, now
that it has examined the applicant's purported civil rights'
complaints under Article 6 para. 1 (Art. 6-1), because the rigorous
procedural guarantees of Article 6 para. 1 (Art. 6-1) take precedence
over the more general guarantees of Article 13 (Art. 13) (cf.  No.
9276/81, Dec. 17.11.83, D.R. 35 p. 13 at p. 21).

        For these reasons, the Commission

        DECLARES THE APPLICATION INADMISSIBLE.


Deputy Secretary to the Commission      President of the Commission


            (J. RAYMOND)                      (C.A. NØRGAARD)