AS TO THE ADMISSIBILITY OF


Application No. 14720/89
by Terence EWING
against the United Kingdom


        The European Commission of Human Rights sitting in private on
6 May 1989, the following members being present:

                MM.  J.A. FROWEIN, Acting President
                     F. ERMACORA
                     G. SPERDUTI
                     E. BUSUTTIL
                     G. JÖRUNDSSON
                     A.S. GÖZÜBÜYÜK
                     A. WEITZEL
                     J.C. SOYER
                     H.G. SCHERMERS
                     H. DANELIUS
                     G. BATLINER
                     J. CAMPINOS
                     H. VANDENBERGHE
                Mrs.  G.H. THUNE
                Sir  Basil HALL
                MM.  F. MARTINEZ
                     C.L. ROZAKIS
                Mrs.  J. LIDDY
                Mr.  L. LOUCAIDES

                Mr.  H.C. KRÜGER, 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 27 March 1987
by Terence EWING against the United Kingdom and registered on 2 March
1989 under file No. 14720/89;

        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 1952 and
resident in London.  This is his seventh application to the Commission.

        The facts of the case, as submitted by the applicant and which
may be deduced from documents lodged with the application, may be
summarised as follows:

        The applicant has been the defendant to various proceedings
involving bank frauds.  In the course of interlocutory proceedings (a
Mareva injunction to prevent the applicant using money placed on a
bank account which he had opened under a pseudonym, money believed to
have been obtained fraudulently), hearings were mostly held in private
before a Master or Judge in Chambers of the Queen's Bench Division of
the High Court.  Masters of the Queen's Bench Division have power to
transact all such business and exercise all such authority as a Judge
in Chambers.  A Master may refer to such a Judge any matter which he
thinks should properly be decided by a Judge and a Judge may direct
that any matter be heard in open court.  Apparently on one occasion,
at the applicant's request, the matter was heard in open court.

        The injunction was granted to the bank in question on 1 and 9
May 1980.  The bank undertook to pay any damages sustained by the
applicant in the event that the principal civil claim failed.
Thereafter proceedings lay dormant whilst the applicant defended
criminal proceedings for theft and forgery (for which he was convicted
and sentenced to five years' imprisonment).  The bank awaited a
possible criminal court order for restitution in order to avoid the
expense of full-scale civil litigation against the applicant.  The
trial court apparently did order restitution, but this order was
quashed by the Court of Appeal on 11 March 1983, following the
quashing of part of the applicant's conviction.  When the applicant
did react to the effects of the injunction, as of August 1983 on
completion of his sentence of imprisonment, he succeeded in having it
discharged and the proceedings dismissed for want of prosecution on 16
January 1984.  The High Court then proceeded to examine the
applicant's claim for damages, which was issued on 30 March 1984, and
rejected on 2 May 1985 after two interim hearings for procedural
directions.  The High Court considered that the applicant, an
inveterate fraudsman, had not shown that he had suffered any real
prejudice or damage because of the injunction, as he was unable
credibly to establish that he was the owner of the money on the bank
account which had been "frozen".

        The applicant appealed on 7 May 1985.  The Court of Appeal, on
24 October 1986, after two interim procedural hearings, granted the
appeal and awarded the applicant £362.65 in interest on the bank
account monies for the period during which he had suffered any
significant prejudice, i.e.  August 1983 until the date of its
judgment.  It then refused the applicant leave to appeal to the House
of Lords on 7 November 1986.

        On 15 July 1987 the applicant applied to the Lord Chancellor's
Department for compensation in respect of an alleged delay in
proceedings.  This was refused on 24 March 1988.
COMPLAINTS

        The applicant complains that the interlocutory proceedings
were held mostly in private, that the proceedings as a whole were
unduly lengthy (from 1 May 1980 until 7 November 1986) and that he was
denied a right to damages.  He has invoked Articles 6 and 13 of the
Convention.


THE LAW

1.      The applicant has complained that interlocutory proceedings,
concerning an injunction which prevented him using certain bank
account money, violated the requirements of a public hearing and
reasonable length laid down in Article 6 para. 1 (Art. 6-1) of the Convention,
the relevant part of which reads as follows:

        "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 applicant has also invoked Article 13 (Art. 13) of the Convention,
which ensures an effective domestic remedy for breaches of the
Convention.  However, the Commission does not find it necessary to
examine this aspect of the applicant's claim, the guarantees of this
provision being absorbed by the stronger guarantees provided by
Article 6 para. 1 (Art. 6-1) of the Convention.

2.      As regards the applicant's first complaint that certain of the
interlocutory proceedings were not held in open court, the Commission
finds that the hearings in question did not determine the applicant's civil
rights and obligations.  Article 6 para. 1 (Art. 6-1) of the Convention did
not, therefore, apply to them.  It follows that this aspect of the case is
incompatible ratione materiae with the provisions of the Convention, pursuant
to Article 27 para. 2 (Art. 27-2).

3.      As regards the applicant's second complaint about the length
of the proceedings as a whole, which were outstanding from 1 May 1980
until 7 November 1986 (six and a half years), the Commission has
examined this claim, assuming that the proceedings in question did
ultimately determine the applicant's civil rights and obligations, in
the light of the criteria laid down by the European Court of Human
Rights concerning the particular circumstances of each case, i.e. its
complexity, the conduct of the applicant and the conduct of the
judicial authorities (cf. e.g.  Eur.  Court H.R., Capuano judgment of 25
June 1987, Series A no. 119).  However, the Commission finds that,
whatever the complexity of the case, overall it cannot be said that
the proceedings in the present case were unduly lengthy.  For the
first three years the applicant took little interest in the injunction
and its effects whilst he was defending various criminal charges for
theft and fraud partly related to the money in question.  Once he did
react to the injunction, after August 1983, the courts proceeded at a
reasonable pace to discharge the Mareva injunction (within six months)
and then to determine his successful claim for damages (within two
years and eight months through two instances, from the summons to the
refusal of leave to appeal to the House of Lords).
        In the light of the applicant's dilatory pursuit of the
proceedings and the courts' reasonably active handling of them, the
Commission concludes that the applicant's complaint about their length is
manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 27 para. 2 (Art. 27-2) of
the Convention.

4.      Finally the applicant has complained that he has been denied a
right to damages.  However the Commission does not have to consider
whether this claim raises an issue under the Convention because it is
clear that the applicant did receive £362.65 in damages by way of
interest on the money "frozen" by the injunction during a certain period.  He
cannot therefore claim under Article 25 (Art. 25) to be a victim of a violation
of the Convention and this aspect of the case is incompatible ratione personae
with the provisions of the Convention, pursuant to Article 27 para. 2 (Art.
27-2).

        For these reasons, the Commission

        DECLARES THE APPLICATION INADMISSIBLE.



Secretary to the Commission        Acting President of the Commission




       (H.C. KRÜGER)                         (J.A. FROWEIN)