Euroopa Inimõiguste Kohus
23.10.1996

Facts

Following proceedings at the Commercial Court and appeal proceedings at the Paris Court of Appeal the applicant company, Levages Prestations Services, was ordered by Commercial Court to pay an employment agency almost 30 000 French francs. The applicant company appealed on points of law to the Court of Cassation. At the proceedings it was represented by a member Conseil d'Etat and Court of Cassation Bar as required by law. The Court of Cassation held that the appeal was inadmissible referring only to the reasoning of the Paris Court of Appeal. 

Complaint

The applicant company alleged that its right to a fair hearing had been infringed when the Court of Cassation of its own motion ruled that the company’s appeal on points of law was inadmissible.

Court's ruling

The Court reiterated that Article 6 of the Convention does not compel States to set up courts of appeal or of cassation. But where such courts do exist, the guarantees of right to fair trial must be complied with. However the conditions of admissibility of an appeal on points of law may be stricter than for an ordinary appeal.

In the instant case the Court noted that the applicant company’s appeal on points of law was declared inadmissible for failure to produce the documents required by law. Given the special nature of the Court of Cassation’s role, which is limited to reviewing whether the law has been correctly applied, the Court accepted that the procedure followed in the Court of Cassation was more formal than in other courts. It was also noted that the applicant had been heard by both lower courts which both had full jurisdiction on facts and law. Thus it found no violation of Article 6 of the Convention.