AS TO THE ADMISSIBILITY OF

                      Application No. 26299/95
                      by Maurice KIRK
                      against the United Kingdom

     The European Commission of Human Rights (First Chamber) sitting
in private on 15 May 1996, the following members being present:

           Mr.   C.L. ROZAKIS, President
           Mrs.  J. LIDDY
           MM.   E. BUSUTTIL
                 A.S. GÖZÜBÜYÜK
                 A. WEITZEL
                 M.P. PELLONPÄÄ
                 B. MARXER
                 B. CONFORTI
                 N. BRATZA
                 I. BÉKÉS
                 G. RESS
                 A. PERENIC
                 C. BÎRSAN
                 K. HERNDL

           Mrs.  M.F. BUQUICCHIO, Secretary to the Chamber

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

     Having regard to the application introduced on 18 July 1994 by
Maurice KIRK against the United Kingdom and registered on
28 January 1995 under file No. 26299/95;

     Having regard to the report provided for in Rule 47 of the Rules
of Procedure of the Commission;

     Having deliberated;

     Decides as follows:

THE FACTS

     The applicant is a British citizen born in 1945 and resident in
Guernsey. He is represented before the Commission by Bobbetts Mackan,
solicitors practising in Bristol. This is the fifteenth application by
the applicant to the Commission. The previous fourteen were declared
inadmissible, the latest being No. 20890/92 declared inadmissible on
1 July 1993.

     The facts as submitted by the applicant may be summarised as
follows.

     The applicant is a practising veterinary surgeon who moved to
Guernsey from England with his family in 1979.  Since his arrival in
Guernsey, the applicant has been involved in a large number of cases,
criminal and civil. He speedily formed the view that the administration
of justice on the island was conducted in an arbitrary and archaic
manner by persons ill-begotten of their high office. The applicant did
not hesitate to communicate his opinions to the relevant authorities
and drew attention to what he and others considered to be a feudal
system of political and judicial administration. As a result, the
applicant states that he became "persona non grata" with the political
and judicial administration on the island and a clear desire was
evinced by those in authority to ensure that the applicant was forced
to leave the island. This was demonstrated, inter alia, by the bringing
of further criminal charges against him which would ensure that his
name was removed from the register of persons permitted to practise as
veterinary surgeons.

     The applicant refers in particular to the following decisions and
proceedings:

A.   On 17 July 1984, the applicant was convicted of contempt of court
and sentenced to eight months' imprisonment following an incident on
12 December 1983 in which the applicant had left the dock and advanced
in a threatening manner towards the magistrate sitting to hear a charge
of drunk driving against the applicant. The applicant appealed to the
Guernsey Court of Appeal, explaining, inter alia, that the magistrate
had not constituted a "competent court" and he had intended to carry
out a citizen's arrest on the magistrate. The applicant's appeal was
rejected on 5 October 1984.

B.   Between 4 June and 31 December 1984, the applicant states that
the prison authorities prevented him from receiving (at least 16 were
never received) or sending communications (exceeding 65 in number)
which hampered him in contacting lawyers, witnesses and other helpers
and in thus preparing for various court proceedings. The applicant
complained to the Prison Board. By letter dated 27 July 1984, the Board
stated that the applicant as a prisoner on remand or pending his appeal
had been or was entitled to necessary facilities for the preparation
of his defence or appeal. By further letter dated 26 September 1984,
the Board rejected the applicant's claim that he had insufficient time
to prepare his case, referring to the 600 letters already sent by him
and to the fact that he was allowed to work on his case during the time
that he should have been working and noting that in association time
he was making use of the leisure facilities. A letter dated 11 December
1984 from the Home Officer in response to enquiry by the applicant's
Member of Parliament stated that the applicant had been allowed to send
more than 1000 letters while in prison  which was far in excess of the
statutory entitlement: only one incoming letter had been stopped (from
a mentally ill patient) and 32 outgoing letters  which were mostly of
an excessive length and contained cartoons and press cuttings not
relevant to his litigation or pending appeal. By petition dated
16 February 1991, the applicant complained about this and other matters
to the Privy Council requesting special leave to appeal. By report
dated 21 May 1991, the Privy Council refused special leave to appeal.

C.   On 4 June 1990, the applicant was fined £1000 (term of
imprisonment in default) for contempt of court in respect of the
publication of a leaflet "Guernsey's Corrupt Judicial System" which
contained scandalous statements about a magistrate. The text of the
court order indicates that the applicant elected to represent himself.
The applicant considered that he required the transcript of the
proceedings  in order to appeal but his application to be provided a
transcript free of cost was rejected on 7 January 1991, since he had
not provided sufficient details about his financial position which
could satisfy the court that he would be eligible for legal aid. It
seems that his appeal lapsed, no subsequent documents relating to it
being provided.

D.   On 12 October 1990, the applicant was convicted for criminal
damage and fined £100. On 24 October 1990, he was convicted for
contempt and sentenced to one months'imprisonment. He was granted bail
pending his appeal. He appears to have applied for a full copy of the
transcript (extracts were before the courts) but was not eligible to
obtain a free copy. The appeal against the contempt was adjourned at
his request in April 1991 pending his appeals to the Privy Council. On
rejection of the Privy Council petitions, the appeal was dismissed on
22 October 1991.

COMPLAINTS

A.   In respect of his conviction for contempt of 17 July 1984, the
applicant invokes Articles 3, 5 paras. 1, 2 and 3, 6 paras. 1 and 3 (c)
and 10 of the Convention.

B.   In respect of the stopping of his letters during his detention
between June and December 1984, the applicant invokes Articles 3, 5,
6 paras. 1, 2 and 3 (c), 8 and 13 of the Convention.

C. In respect of his conviction for contempt on 4 June 1990, the
applicant invokes Articles 5 paras 2 and 3 and 6 in that he was
deprived of the opportunity to answer the allegations  or to represent
himself.

D. In respect of his convictions in October 1990, the applicant invokes
Articles 5 paras. 2 and 3, 6 and 8 in that he was deprived of the
opportunity to appeal, answer the allegations  or to represent himself.

PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE COMMISSION

     On 29 October 1991, the applicant's counsel submitted a faxed
outline application on his behalf. A letter containing complaints, with
documents, had previously been submitted by the applicant personally
on or about 24 October 1991. On 31 December 1991, solicitors contacted
the Secretariat stating that they were now representing the applicant.
The Commission's application form was sent to the solicitors on
21 January 1992. It was drawn to the attention of the applicant's
representatives that many of the matters raised had also been
considered in previous applications by the applicant and copies of the
Commission's decisions were sent. They were also warned that failure
to return the application form within a short period might affect the
date of introduction of the application.

     By letter dated 12 June 1992, the applicant's representatives
referring to "two separate and distinct petitions" submitted in October
1991 stated that the first concerned new matters unrelated to previous
applications and in respect of the second, made by the applicant
personally, there was the new element of a Privy Council decision by
way of exhaustion of domestic remedies. By letter dated 17 July 1992,
the Secretariat reminded the applicant's representatives that they had
not returned the Commission's application form sent to them in January
1992 but informing that there was no need to repeat information
previously submitted.

     On receipt of the Commission's application form on 9 November
1992, with enclosures repeating largely earlier submissions made by
counsel on 29 October 1991, the Secretariat informed the applicant's
representatives that the application had been registered under No.
20890/92 on 29 October 1992 and that it was considered as having been
introduced in October 1991.

     The Commission sitting by way a committee rejected the
application as manifestly ill-founded on the basis of all the material
in the file on 1 July 1993.

     The decision was sent to the applicant's representatives on
13 July 1993. A further copy was sent on 11 August 1993 when it
appeared the first was misdirected. By letter dated 21 September 1993,
the applicant's representatives wrote requesting further details of the
Commission's reasoning.  By letter dated 29 September 1993, the
Secretariat informed them that no further reasons could be disclosed
and explained the nature of the committee proceedings.

     By letter dated 18 July 1994, the applicant's representatives
referred to the application lodged on 24 October 1991 and enclosed
their formal submissions. By letter dated 22 August 1994, the
Secretariat informed them that the application No. 20890/92 introduced
on that date had been declared inadmissible.

     By letter dated 5 September 1994, the applicant's representatives
contended that two sets of papers had been submitted on 24 October
1991, one from the applicant and the other from his counsel.  They
accepted that one application had been determined and asked to proceed
with the second one. By letter dated 24 November 1994, the Secretariat
informed them that the two sets of papers had been registered as one
application under No. 20890/92 and that the Commission's decision
concerned both. By letter dated 30 November 1994, the applicant's
representatives stated that they had never been informed that the two
sets of papers had been linked under one application number and that
detailed submissions had only been provided concerning one: the
detailed submissions now provided related to the second.

     By letter dated 26 January 1995, the Secretariat informed the
applicant's representatives that their current complaints had been
registered under No. 26299/95 with the introduction date of 30 November
1994 but that to the extent that the matters raised were substantially
the same as those dealt with under the previous application they were
likely to be rejected under Article 27 para. (1) b. They were also
informed that the introduction date would be taken from the date of
their recent submissions.

THE LAW

1.   The applicant complains principally of his conviction for
contempt of 17 July 1984, the stopping of his letters between June-
December 1984 and his convictions for contempt in June and October
1990.  The Commission notes that the first two complaints were examined
and rejected in the Commission's decision in Application Nos. 13352/87
and 13496/88 of 8 March 1989 and were also contained in the materials
submitted to the Commission and registered under Application No.
20890/92 rejected on 1 July 1993. The convictions of the applicant for
contempt in June and October 1990 were also included in the complaints
submitted in the application No. 20890/92 which was rejected on 1 July
1993.

2.   The Commission notes that the applicant and his representatives
consider that there has been a confusion as to the complaints which
were to be examined by it under Application No. 20890/92 and that they
were under the impression that only one of the "sets of papers"
submitted was registered under that application number. The Commission
is prepared to give the applicant the benefit of the doubt as the
genuineness of his misunderstanding. It has therefore not applied
Article 27 para. 1 (b) (Art. 27-1-b) in respect of complaints which
were referred to in outline in the materials before the Commission and
registered under Application No. 20890/92.

3.   The Commission recalls however that the applicant's solicitors
wrote to Secretariat by letter dated 18 July 1994 stating that with
reference to the application lodged on 24 October 1991 they enclosed
the formal submissions. These submissions provided a more detailed
expansion of some matters referred to in the applicant's letter and
annexes of 24 October 1991. The Commission would note that its task in
examining the applicant's complaints which refer to a large number of
different proceedings has not been assisted by the manner of its
presentation. While difficulties may inevitably arise from the
intricacy of events, the Commission has found inconsistencies and
contradictions in submissions of facts and in allegations of complaint.

     According, however, to Article 26 (Art. 26) of the Convention,
applications to the Commission must be introduced within six months of
the final decision taken in respect of their subject-matter.  The
Commission's established practice is to consider as the date of
introduction the date of the applicant's first letter indicating his
intention to lodge an application and giving some indication of the
nature of the complaints which he wishes to raise.  However, where a
substantial interval follows before the applicant submits further
information regarding his proposed application, the Commission must
examine the particular circumstances of the case in order to decide
what date should be regarded as the date of introduction of the
application, interrupting the running of time for the purpose of the
six month time-limit (see eg. No. 15213/89 dec. 1.7.91 D.R. 71 p. 230).

     The Commission considers that the purpose of the six month rule
is to maintain reasonable legal certainty and ensure that cases raising
issues under the Convention are examined within a reasonable time.
This also facilitates the establishment of facts in a case, the passage
of time rendering problematic any fair examination of the issues
raised. It would therefore be contrary to the spirit and purpose of the
six month rule laid down in Article 26 (Art. 26) of the Convention to
accept that by means of an initial letter an applicant could set in
motion the procedure provided for in Article 25 (Art. 25) of the
Convention only to remain inactive thereafter for an unlimited and
unexplained period of time (see eg. No. 10626/83, Dec. 7.5.85 D.R.42
p. 205).

     In the present case, there has been a lapse of two years and nine
months between the applicant's letter introducing his complaints and
the provision of "formal submissions" concerning these matters on his
behalf by his solicitors. While there was correspondence between the
solicitors and the Commission's Secretariat during 1992 and 1993
concerning the applicant's Application No. 20890/92, the applicant's
solicitors maintain that this application dealt with separate and
distinct matters. In any event, there was a gap of more than a year
between the decision rejecting that application  on 3 July 1993 and the
submission of "formal submissions" in relation to this application  on
18 July 1994, a delay for which no explanation has been given. The
Commission notes that the applicant's solicitors were warned of the
possible effect of delay on the calculation of the introduction date
in the first letter sent to them on 21 January 1992. The Commission
finds therefore that the date of introduction for the purposes of this
application must be taken as 18 July 1994.

     The Commission recalls that the applicant claims that the final
decision relating to his complaints about the contempt conviction of
17 July 1984 and the stopping of his correspondence while he was in
prison between June and December 1984 was the decision of the Privy
Council rejecting his request for special leave to appeal on 21 May
1991. Even assuming therefore that the applicant's petition to the
Privy Council more than five years after the events in question could
be regarded as an effective remedy for the purposes of Article 26
(Art. 26), the refusal of special leave was given more than six months
before the introduction of this application.

     As regards the complaints concerning convictions in June and
October 1990, the Commission notes that the final decisions regarding
these matters were given on 7 January 1991 and 21 October 1992
respectively though it also appears that some reference to these
matters was also included in the applicant's petition to the Privy
Council which was rejected on 21 May 1991. These decisions were also
issued more than six months before the introduction of this
application.

     The Commission finds no special circumstances arising on the
facts of this case which could be considered as interrupting the
running of the six month period.

     Consequently, the applicant's complaints must be rejected as out
of time pursuant to Article 27 para. 3 (Art. 27-3) of the Convention.

     For these reasons, the Commission, unanimously,

     DECLARES THE APPLICATION INADMISSIBLE.

Secretary to the First Chamber       President of the First Chamber

     (M.F. BUQUICCHIO)                        (C.L. ROZAKIS)