AS TO THE ADMISSIBILITY OF
Application no. 290/03
by Rüdiger ADAM and Others
The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting on 1 September 2005 as a Chamber composed of:
Mr J. Hedigan, President,
Mr L. Caflisch,
Mr C. Bîrsan,
Mrs M. Tsatsa-Nikolovska,
Mr V. Zagrebelsky,
Mrs A. Gyulumyan,
Ms R. Jaeger, judges,
and Mr V. Berger, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 15 December 2002,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicants, Mr Rüdiger Adam, Ms Angelika Vogt and Ms Marlis Bertling, are German nationals. They were represented before the Court by Mr K.H. Christoph, a lawyer practising in Berlin.
A. The circumstances of the case
The facts of the case, as submitted by the applicants, may be summarised as follows.
The applicants worked as ballet dancers in and for the German Democratic Republic (“GDR”). At the end of their stage career they were paid a monthly allowance (“the allowance“) for former ballet dancers. That allowance was paid by virtue of a set of Regulations enacted by the Minister of Culture (Anordnung über die Gewährung einer berufsbezogenen Zuwendung an Ballettmitglieder in staatlichen Einrichtungen der DDR) of 1 September 1976. It accrued after reaching the age of 35 and having worked for at least 15 years as a dancer. It was paid, irrespective of other earnings, by the last employer. Once the former dancer received an old-age or invalidity pension the allowance was paid by the National Insurance of the GDR (Staatliche Versicherung der DDR).
After the German reunification the allowance was initially converted into and paid in German marks (DEM). On 1 January 1992, however, all allowance payments to former ballet dancers were discontinued on the basis of Article 9 § 2 read in conjunction with Appendix II, Chapter VIII, Section H, paragraph III, Nr. 6 of the German Unification Treaty (Einigungsvertrag) of 31 August 1990, hereafter referred to as “Article 9 of the German Unification Treaty” (see “Relevant domestic law and practice” below).
In 1992 the applicants and several other former ballet dancers of the GDR lodged a constitutional complaint with the Federal Constitutional Court. The latter refused to accept the complaint because the applicants had not exhausted legal remedies.
1. Applicant Adam
Applicant Adam (A) worked from 1960 to 1988 as a ballet dancer for a national company of the GDR. In 1988 he terminated his career on stage and was subsequently paid an allowance of 512, 50 marks per month until its suspension on 31 December 1991.
On 17 March 1995 A brought an action with the Dresden Social Court (Sozialgericht) claiming the continued payment of the allowance. On 11 April 1995 the Social Court referred his case to the Dresden Labour Court (Arbeitsgericht). On 10 August 1995 the Sachsen Social Court of Appeal (Landessozialgericht) rejected his appeal against the referral.
On 13 February 1996 the Dresden Labour Court rejected A’s action. It argued that A had no valid claim to any allowance payments beyond 31 December 1991. As the German Unification Treaty permanently ended payment of these allowances from that date, it did not recognise the allowance as being a legal claim within the social security system of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG).
On 20 June 1997 the Sachsen Regional Labour Court (Landesarbeitsgericht) rejected A’s appeal (Berufung).
On 29 August 2000 the Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht) rejected A’s request for leave to appeal on points of law. It conceded that the wording of Article 9 of the German Unification Treaty was ambiguous in that it could be interpreted as setting 31 December 1991 either as the final date to qualify for the allowance or as terminating allowance payments permanently from that date. The legislator had however meant to suspend the allowance payments as of 31 December 1991. The allowance was an atypical benefit granted by the GDR and had been paid out of public funds. Under these circumstances a transfer of the allowance into the united German legal system would have required an explicit and more precise rule than that actually laid down in the German Unification Treaty. Furthermore Article 9 of the German Unification Treaty had to be construed bearing in mind that that provision was intended to lead to the creation of a uniform and united German pension system. Accordingly, it was meant to regulate the application of the GDR’s pension schemes for a provisional period only. With the adoption of the Law on the Transfer of Pension Rights and Future Pension Rights (Anspruchs- und Anwartschaftsüberführungsgesetz, hereafter “transfer law”) of 25 July 1991 (see “Relevant domestic law and practice” below) this purpose had been accomplished. The transfer law did not provide for further allowance payments after 31 December 1991 but established that the number of years which the ballet dancer had worked on stage would be taken into consideration in calculating his monthly pension.
On 2 July 2002 the Federal Constitutional Court, sitting as a panel of three judges, refused to admit A’s constitutional complaint. It referred to its leading judgment of 28 April 1999 (see “Relevant domestic law and practice” below), pursuant to which the pension rights acquired in the GDR fell within the scope of the Article 14 of the German Basic Law (Grundgesetz) protecting the right to property provided that the German Unification Treaty recognised them as legal claims within the united German legal system. Given that Article 9 of the German Unification Treaty prescribed that the allowance would not be transferred into the social and labour legislation of the FRG, however, it did not fall within the scope of Article 14 of the German Basic Law. It could accordingly be left undecided whether the allowance could be considered a pension. There had never been a legitimate expectation that the allowance would be transferred into the united German legal system, as in the legal system of the GDR, the allowance had already amounted to a preferential treatment. Besides, although the allowance was not based on contributions of the beneficiary, the German legislator had in a way allowed for it by establishing in the transfer law that the years during which a person had been working as a ballet dancer of the GDR and thereby had qualified for the allowance would be taken into account for calculating the pension to be paid to that person.
The decision was served on A’s lawyer on 2 August 2002.
2. Applicant Vogt
Applicant Vogt (V) worked as a ballet dancer for national companies of the GDR for over 15 years. In 1989 she terminated her stage career and was subsequently paid an allowance of 686, 50 marks per month until its suspension on 31 December 1991.
On 21 December 1992 V brought an action for declaration (Feststellungsklage) that, once she was going to receive an old-age or an invalidity pension, the Federal Insurance Office for Employees (Bundesversicherungsanstalt für Angestellte) would be obligated to pay her the allowance in addition to her pension.
On 25 January 1994 the Dresden Social Court rejected her action. It argued that V had no valid claim to any allowance payments beyond 31 December 1991 as the German Unification Treaty put a definitive end to such payments as of that date. The transfer law determined, however, that the years during which a person had been working as a ballet dancer for the GDR and thereby qualified for the allowance had to be taken into account to calculate the pension of that person. In this way the transfer law integrated the allowance into the pension system of the FRG but did not provide for allowance payments in addition to the pension.
On 27 July 1994 the Sachsen Social Court of Appeal quashed the decision of the Social Court and declared V’s action inadmissible.
On 14 September 1995 the Federal Social Court (Bundessozialgericht) rejected most of V’s appeal on points of law. It argued that the FRG was not the universal legal successor (Gesamtrechtsnachfolgerin) of the GDR and that the Unification Treaty determined which duties of the GDR had been transferred to the FRG and the Länder. The allowance as such had been abolished and would therefore not be paid in addition to a future pension.
On 2 July 2002 the Federal Constitutional Court refused to accept V’s constitutional complaint in a joint decision also dealing with A’s and B’s constitutional complaints. The decision was served on V’s lawyer on 2 August 2002.
3. Applicant Bertling
Applicant Bertling (B) worked as a ballet dancer for the Brandenburger Theater until February 1976. In 1976 she terminated her stage career and was subsequently paid an allowance of 304 marks per month until its suspension on 31 December 1991.
On 23 December 1992 B brought an action with the Brandenburg District Court (Kreisgericht), requesting the further payment of the allowance and a declaration that once she was going to be served an old-age or an invalidity pension the Federal Insurance Office for Employees would be bound to pay her the allowance in addition to her pension.
On 20 April 1993 the District Court referred the proceedings to the Potsdam Social Court. On 11 January 1994 the Potsdam Social Court rejected the applicant’s action. On 15 June 1995 the Brandenburg Social Court of Appeal rejected her appeal. On 29 April 1997 the Federal Social Court rejected her appeal on points of law.
On 2 July 2002 the Federal Constitutional Court refused to entertain B’s constitutional complaint in a joint decision also dealing with A’s and V’s complaints. The decision was served on B’s lawyer on 2 August 2002.
B. Relevant domestic law and practice
1. The German Unification Treaty
As a result of the German Reunification, which became effective on 3 October 1990, the GDR acceded to the FRG. The transition from a communist regime to a democratic system of market economy in the new Länder raised many issues relating to property rights in Germany, in particular regarding the transfer of former GDR citizens’ pensions.
To achieve economic and legal unification, the FRG and GDR concluded several agreements on the fate of GDR legislation, such as the German Unification Treaty of 31 August 1990, in which they agreed, inter alia, that vested rights and expectations were transferred to the social security system of the FRG. However, payments made on the basis of special regulations (Sonderregelungen) would be checked for the purpose of stopping unjustified or excessive payments (mit dem Ziel, ..., ungerechtfertigte Leistungen abzuschaffen und überhöhte Leistungen abzubauen). The German Unification Treaty, besides containing several other declarations, laid down fundamental principles in that connection. It established, inter alia, which parts of GDR law were to be incorporated into the unified German legal system.
Article 9 § 2 of the Treaty reads:
“The law of the GDR mentioned in Appendix II is to remain in force in the unified system, with the restrictions set out in the Appendix, and provided that that law is compatible with the Basic Law (Grundgesetz) and the law of the EU which is directly applicable.”
Appendix II, Chapter VIII, Section H, paragraph III, Nr. 6 inter alia reads:
“a. The Regulations on the allowance to be paid to former ballet dancers are applicable until 31 December 1991.
b. The Regulations can be amended until that date by a collective agreement (Tarifvertrag) or by a collective labour contract (Betriebsvereinbarung).”
2. The Transfer Law
The Law on the Transfer of Pension Rights and Future Pension Rights (transfer law, Anspruchs- und Anwartschaftsüberführungsgesetz) determined how the numerous additional or special pension schemes (Zusatz- oder Sonderversorgungssysteme) were integrated into the united German pension system.
Regarding the allowances examined here, it did not provide for them to be paid on top of the regular pension but prescribed that the number of years during which a ballet dancer had worked on stage would be taken into consideration for calculating the monthly pension.
3. Decisions of the Federal Constitutional Court
On 28 April 1999 the Federal Constitutional Court issued four leading judgments concerning the method used to deal with former GDR citizens’ pension rights. It determined that the pension rights acquired in the GDR fell within the purview of Article 14 of the German Basic Law (right to property), provided that the German Unification Treaty recognised them as a legal claim within the united German legal system. It furthermore examined the constitutionality of the transfer law and established which provisions of it were contrary to the Basic Law.
In all these cases judge Papier of the Federal Constitutional Court had declared himself biased. In 1994 the Federal Ministry of Social Affairs had commissioned him to examine the constitutionality of the transfer law. He withdrew from the bench making reference to the expert opinion he had rendered and where he had examined the constitutionality of the transfer law. The Federal Constitutional Court accepted his withdrawal and decided without his participation.
1. The applicants complained under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 that the termination of the allowance payments violated their right to the peaceful enjoyment of possessions. They contended that the German courts had wrongly interpreted Article 9 of the German Unification Treaty. Moreover they alleged that the allowance had not been granted as a political favour, even though, they had not paid any contributions to a complementary pension fund. The allowance was the only possibility for ballet dancers to maintain their standard of living after the end of their career on stage. The applicants finally argued that property rights could not expire because of the unification of two States.
2. The applicants further complained in substance under Article 14 of the Convention, taken in conjunction with Article 1 of Protocol No. 1, that they had been unlawfully deprived of their pension claims because they were citizens of the former GDR.
3. The applicants further complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention about the length of proceedings.
4. Moreover, the applicants pointed out that in the leading cases of 1999 concerning pension transfers, judge Papier of the Federal Constitutional Court had declared himself biased because in his expert opinion he had concluded that the transfer law was not contrary to the German Basic Law. They complained that he had not withdrawn from the present proceedings, although he was equally biased so far as they were concerned. They alleged that the Federal Constitutional Court’s decision in the present case contradicted the findings of the leading cases in 1999 from which he had withdrawn.
5. Lastly the applicants complained under Article 6 that they were denied a fair trial. The proceedings had been unfair because the large majority of the judges and decision-makers involved in the legal questions concerning the pension transfer originated from the FRG. Furthermore the applicants complained that in 1992 the Federal Constitutional Court had refused to accept their constitutional complaints on the formal ground of non-exhaustion of legal remedies. They finally alleged that that Court had not properly examined the legal questions of the unification process.
1. The applicants submitted that the suspension of the allowance payments infringed their property right guaranteed by Article 1 of Protocol No. 1, which provides:
“Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law.
The preceding provisions shall not, however, in any way impair the right of a State to enforce such laws as it deems necessary to control the use of property in accordance with the general interest or to secure the payment of taxes or other contributions or penalties.”
They complained that the German courts had wrongly interpreted the pertinent provision of the German Unification Treaty and that the unification of Germany did not entail the right to discontinue the allowance payments as they provided the only possibility for ballet dancers to maintain their standard of living after the end of their stage career.
Assuming Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to be applicable the Court recalls that the rights the citizens of the GDR could legitimately expect of obtaining after the reunification were determined by the various statutes and treaties the GDR and FRG agreed on during the reunification process (see Maltzan and Others v. Germany [GC] (dec.), no. 71916/01, 30 March 2005, § 92). The relevant treaties established to which extent a right to property within the meaning of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 would accrue in respect of the impugned allowance for the time after the reunification. In the present case Article 9 of the German Unification Treaty permanently terminated the allowance payments as of 31 December 1991.
Accordingly, the applicants had no “possessions” within the meaning of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 regarding the allowance payments after 31 December 1991.
Insofar as the wording of the pertinent provision in the German Unification Treaty was considered ambiguous because it could be interpreted either as setting the 31 December 1991 as the final date to qualify for the allowance or as terminating permanently the allowance payments from that date onwards, the Court recalls that it is not its task to take the place of the domestic courts. It is primarily for the national authorities, notably the courts, to resolve problems of interpretation of domestic legislation (see, mutatis mutandis, Bulut v. Austria, judgment of 22 February 1996, Reports of Judgments and Decisions 1996-II, p. 356 § 29; and Tejedor García v. Spain, judgment of 16 December 1997, Reports of Judgments and Decisions 1997-VIII, p. 2796 § 31) or of treaties which, as a result of the absorption of one State by another, transform themselves into such legislation. Pursuant to the interpretation given by the Federal Constitutional Court, the Federal Labour Court and the Federal Social Court, the provision was to be construed as excluding the allowance to be incorporated into the united German legal system. Looking at the very text of the relevant clause and bearing in mind the object and purpose pursued by the FRG and GDR when concluding the Unification Treaty (Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties of 23 May 1969, Article 31, paragraph 1) - to suppress unjustified or excessive payments -, there is nothing to suggest that this interpretation was arbitrary or beyond the wide margin of appreciation which the Court concedes in particular for reaching a comprehensive solution regarding the consequences of the German Reunification (see Maltzan and Others, cited above, § 94; Kuna v. Germany (dec.) no. 52449/99, ECHR 2001-V; and Janković v. Croatia (dec.), no. 43440/98, ECHR 2000-X). Accordingly, it cannot be claimed that the applicants had a legitimate expectation of being entitled to the allowance after 31 December 1991. It follows that the complaint under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 is incompatible ratione materiae with the provisions of the Convention.
2. The applicants also claimed to be the victims of discrimination in breach of Article 14 of the Convention, taken in conjunction with Article 1 of Protocol No. 1, alleging that they had been unlawfully deprived of their pension claims because they were citizens of the GDR.
Article 14 of the Convention reads:
“The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in [the] Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.”
According to the Court’s settled case-law, Article 14 of the Convention complements the other substantive provisions of the Convention and its Protocols. It has no independent existence since it operates solely in relation to the “enjoyment of the rights and freedoms” safeguarded by those provisions. Although the application of Article 14 does not presuppose a breach of those provisions - and to this extent is autonomous -, there can be no room for its application unless the facts at issue fall within the ambit of one or several of the latter (Gratzinger and Gratzingerova v. the Czech Republic (dec.), no. 39794/98, ECHR 2002-VII § 76).
Having regard to the above finding that Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 is inapplicable, the Court holds that Article 14 of the Convention cannot be taken into account in the present case.
It follows that the complaints under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1, read in conjunction with Article 14, are also incompatible ratione materiae with the provisions of the Convention, within the meaning of Article 35 § 3, and must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 § 4.
3. The applicants complained about the length of the proceedings under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention, which, in so far as relevant, reads as follows:
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ..., everyone is entitled to a ... hearing within a reasonable time by [a] ... tribunal ...”
The Court recalls that, pursuant to Article 35 § 1 of the Convention, the Court may only deal with a matter “within a period of six months from the date on which the final decision was taken”. The running of the six-month period is, as a general rule, interrupted by the first letter from an applicant denoting an intention to lodge an application and giving some indication of the nature of the complaints made (see Chalkley v. the United Kingdom (dec.), no. 63831/00, 26 September 2002). As regards complaints not included in the initial application, the running of the six-month period is not interrupted until the date when the complaint is first submitted to the Court (see Allan v. United Kingdom (dec.), no. 48539/99, 28 August 2001).
In the present case the final decision in the process of exhaustion of domestic remedies was the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court served on the applicants’ lawyer on 2 August 2002. The six-month time-limit accordingly ended on 2 February 2003.
On 17 December 2002 the applicants’ lawyer submitted to the Court a fax of two pages for each applicant. The faxes were made of a template which the lawyer used for all three applications and in which he requested the necessary forms for an application to the Court. They contained an individual first part (a.) which dealt with the facts of the case of each applicant. This was followed in all cases by parts (b.) and (c.) which contained general comments on the situation and the suspension of the payments. Parts (b.) and (c.) were identically worded in each fax and did not, for instance, take into account the sex of the applicant. The pertinent passages of the faxes read as follows:
“a.) Short summary of the application
[...] The applicant’s motions were rejected, lastly by the Federal Constitutional Court. Thereby, in this very painful dispute (“stark belastenden Auseinandersetzung”) which lasts since 1991, the applicant was denied an effective remedy and a fair trial.
b.) Complaint about the violation of the Convention of Human Rights
The violation results from the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court and the decisions confirmed thereby [...]. It consists of the following:
- a violation of the right to protection of property under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (equivalent to Article 14 of the German Basic Law)
- a violation of the prohibition of discrimination under Article 14 of the Convention (equivalent to Article 3 of the German Basic Law)
- a violation of the right to a fair trial under Article 6 of the Convention. “
It was only in their application forms submitted on 28 March 2003, 2 and 3 April 2003 - thus after the expiry of the six-month limit - that the applicants explicitly complained about the length of the proceedings. The Court accordingly has to examine whether their submissions dated 17 December 2002, within the six-month time-limit, constituted an appropriate introduction of this complaint.
Under the Court’s case-law, the mere fact that an applicant or his lawyer invokes Article 6 is not sufficient validly to raise all subsequent complaints made under that provision (see Zervakis v. Greece (dec.), no. 64321/01, 17 October 2002; and Allan, cited above).
In the present case the applicants’ lawyer observed in the factual part (a.) of each fax that the ‘very painful dispute” arose since 1991. The Court notes that, although the domestic proceedings in these cases started at different dates, they actually all began after 1991 – the year in which the allowance payments were suspended. The Court is of the view that the references to the beginning of the dispute must be read as a factual statement rather than individual complaints about the length of the proceedings by each applicant. This is all the more so as in part (b.) - which identifies the Convention rights allegedly violated - the applicants’ lawyer refers under Article 6 to the right to a fair trial without mentioning the right to a hearing within a reasonable time. The Court recalls that, although that right is a specific aspect of the right to a fair trial, complaints about the length of the proceedings cannot be considered mere substantiations of complaints about unfair proceedings but rather constitute independent complaints. Accordingly, a complaint about unfair proceedings does not automatically include a complaint about their length (see Zervakis, cited above). The Court notes that the present case can be distinguished from the case of Houfová v. the Czech Republic (no. 1), (no. 58177/00, § 31, 15 June 2004) in that the applicants’ lawyer in the present case did not even quote the passage of Article 6 concerning the right to a hearing within a reasonable time. His submissions under Article 6 do accordingly not include a complaint about the length of the proceedings. In the present context the Court attaches particular weight to the fact that the applicants were represented by a lawyer (see, mutatis mutandis, Melin v. France, judgment of 22 June 1993, Series A no. 261-A, § 24; and Bertuzzi v. France (dec.), no. 36378/97, 16 April 2002; and, a contrario, Appietto v. France (dec.), no. 56927/00, 26 February 2002).
For these reasons, the Court concludes that the complaint concerning the length of proceedings was made in the application forms submitted in March and April 2003.
This part of the application must accordingly be rejected, pursuant to Article 35 §§ 1 and 4 of the Convention, as inadmissible under the six-month rule.
4. The applicants further complained that they had not had a hearing by an “impartial tribunal” within the meaning of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention which, in so far as relevant, provides:
In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ..., everyone is entitled to a fair ... hearing ... by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law.”
They pointed out that in the leading cases before the Federal Constitutional Court concerning the pension transfer (see “Relevant domestic law and practice” above), judge Papier had withdrawn from the proceedings because of the expert opinion he had rendered earlier on the constitutionality of the transfer law. They complained that he had not withdrawn from the instant proceedings although he was biased.
Under the Court’s constant case-law, the existence of impartiality must be assessed according to a subjective test, that is, on the basis of the personal conviction of a particular judge in a given case, and also according to an objective test, that is, by ascertaining whether the judge offered guarantees sufficient to exclude any legitimate doubt in this respect (see Puolitaival and Pirttiaho v. Finland, no. 54857/00, § 41, 23 November 2004; and Walden v. Liechtenstein (dec.), no. 3391696, 16 March 2000).
As to the subjective test, the personal impartiality of a judge must be presumed until there is proof to the contrary (see Wettstein v. Switzerland, no. 33958/96, § 43, ECHR 2000-XII). The applicants have not adduced any evidence to cast doubt on judge Papier’s personal impartiality.
Under the objective test, it must be determined whether, quite apart from the judge’s personal conduct, there are ascertainable facts which may raise doubts as to his impartiality. In this respect appearances may be of a certain importance. What is at stake is the confidence which the courts in a democratic society must inspire in the public. Accordingly, any judge in respect of whom there is a legitimate reason to fear a lack of impartiality must withdraw. This implies that in deciding whether in a given case there is a legitimate reason to fear that a particular judge lacks impartiality, the standpoint of the party concerned, while important, is not decisive. What is decisive is whether this fear can be held to be objectively justified (see Wettstein, cited above, § 44).
The Court notes at the outset that judge Papier declared himself biased in the leading cases of 1999 (see “Relevant domestic law and practice” above) because in his expert opinion he had examined what was as stake in those cases: the constitutionality of the transfer law. In the applicants’ case, however, the Federal Constitutional Court did not deal with the transfer law; it only referred to it as an additional element, to demonstrate that the German legislator had in a way taken into account the allowance although the latter had amounted to preferential treatment already in the legal system of the GDR. Instead the Constitutional Court examined whether the German Unification Treaty recognised the allowance as a legal claim within the united German legal system.
Furthermore, the conclusion reached by the Federal Constitutional Court in its leading decisions of 1999, according to which the allowance did not fall within the scope of the German Basic Law, resulted from an assessment made by the court without the participation of judge Papier. Nothing suggests that the court’s treatment of the instant cases contradicts its findings in the 1999 leading cases.
The Court therefore considers that the applicants have not shown that the fear of judge Papier’s partiality was objectively justified. The mere fact that judge Papier gave an opinion as a legal expert on a constitutional question that was not decisive for the present proceedings does not, in the Court’s view, warrant a finding that he lacked impartiality.
It follows that, even assuming that this complaint was raised within the six-month time-limit, this part of the application must be rejected as manifestly ill-founded pursuant to Article 35 of the Convention.
5. The Court has examined the applicants’ further complaints under Article 6 as submitted by them. Having regard to all the elements in its possession, it finds that these complaints do not disclose any appearance of a violation of the rights and freedoms set out in the Convention or its Protocols. It follows that this part of the application must be rejected as being manifestly ill-founded, pursuant to Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Declares the application inadmissible.
Vincent Berger John Hedigan Registrar President
ADAM AND OTHERS v. GERMANY DECISION
ADAM AND OTHERS v. GERMANY DECISION