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The applicant, Ms Béatrice Bufferne, is a French national, born in 1954 and living in Beaumont-les-Autels.
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
The applicant worked for thirteen years and three months at the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry as a secretarial assistant.
She alleges that she had been subjected to pressure and had been the victim of wrongdoing that had put her and her family in danger. She does not say whether that pressure related to her job. She cites, for instance, an incident on 13 September 1992 in which the brakes of her car were tampered with. She lodged various complaints with the police, but they were all filed away without further action.
Following those events, she informed her employer in a letter of 16 October 1992 that she wished to resign for lawful reasons. In a letter of 4 November 1992, her employer accepted her resignation but not the existence of lawful reasons. The applicant was thereby prevented from obtaining unemployment benefit.
On 30 November 1992 the applicant applied to the Paris Administrative Court for an order setting that decision aside. The Administrative Court dismissed her application in a judgment of 16 April 1996.
In a judgment of 3 March 1998, the Administrative Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal lodged by the applicant on 28 August 1996.
The applicant appealed to the Conseil d’Etat on points of law. It dismissed her appeal in a decision of 19 May 1999 (which was served on 10 June 1999) in which it stated:
“Section 11 of the Administrative Procedure (Reform) Act of 31 December 1987 provides: ‘Prior leave shall be required for appeals on points of law to the Conseil d’Etat. A court order shall be made refusing leave if the appeal is inadmissible or has no reasonable prospects of success ...’
In support of her application for an order quashing the impugned judgment, Ms Bufferne argued that the Paris Administrative Court of Appeal had erred in law and acted in breach of Articles L. 351-1 and L. 351-8 of the Labour Code by refusing to apply the decision of the National Organisation for Industrial and Business Employment (Union nationale pour l’emploi dans l’industrie et le commerce – UNEDIC) of 13 January 1993 and finding that the administrative authority was entitled, subject to a right to judicial review, to determine whether she came within the statutory grounds for resignation. She said that the Administrative Court of Appeal had relied on material errors of fact and misconstrued the facts in finding that the applicants had failed to establish that she and her family had been subjected to pressure by the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
None of these grounds justifies granting leave to appeal.”
The applicant complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that the the Conseil d’Etat’s decision did not contain reasons and also complained of the length of the proceedings.
1. The applicant complained Conseil d’Etat’s judgment did not contain reasons. She relied on Article 6 § 1 of the Convention, which provides:
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ..., everyone is entitled to a fair ... hearing within a reasonable time by [a] ... tribunal ...”
The Court notes that under section 11 of the Administrative Procedure (Reform) Act of 31 December 1987: “Prior leave shall be required for appeals on points of law to the Conseil d’Etat. A court order shall be made refusing leave if the appeal is inadmissible or has no reasonable prospects of success”. Pursuant to that provision the Conseil d’Etat refused leave to appeal, holding that none of the grounds “justif[ied] granting leave to appeal”.
The Court reiterates that the procedure under section 11 of the Act of 31 December 1987 requiring leave to be obtained for appeals to the Conseil d’Etat is consistent with the Convention (see, among other authorities, Rebai v. France, no. 26561/95, Commission decision of 25 February 1997, Decisions and Reports (DR) 88, p. 72; and, mutatis mutandis, X v. Germany, no. 8769/79, Commission decision of 16 July 1981, DR 25, p. 240). It notes, further, that although the concept of fairness referred to in Article 6 § 1 of the Convention requires judicial decisions to contain sufficient reasoning, it cannot be understood as requiring a detailed answer to every argument (see, among other authorities, García Ruiz v. Spain [GC], no. 30544/96, § 26, ECHR 1999-1).
The Court notes that in the present case the Conseil d’Etat recapitulated the applicant’s grounds of appeal and ruled that they did not “justify granting leave” to appeal. It thus clearly stated that the grounds of appeal relied on by the applicant were not based solely on points of law, the only grounds for which an appeal on points of law will lie. The Court therefore finds that the Conseil d’Etat’s decision in the applicant’s case contained sufficient reasons for the purposes of Article 6 § 1. Consequently, this part of the application is manifestly ill-founded and must be dismissed pursuant to Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Declares the remainder of the application inadmissible.
BUFFERNE v. FRANCE DECISION
BUFFERNE v. FRANCE DECISION