EGMR: Károly Nagy v. Hungary (no. 56665/09)

The applicant, Károly Nagy, is a Hungarian national who was born in 1951 and lives in Gödöllő (Hungary). The case concerned Mr Nagy’s compensation claim against the Hungarian Calvinist Church following his dismissal as pastor of the Gödöllő parish.

Mr Nagy had disciplinary proceedings brought against him in June 2005 for being reported in a local newspaper as saying that State subsidies had been paid unlawfully to a Calvinist boarding school. His service was immediately suspended and eventually terminated with effect from 1 May 2006 following a decision by the ecclesiastical courts.

Mr Nagy then brought proceedings before both the labour and civil courts. Both sets of proceedings were ultimately discontinued on the ground that the courts had no jurisdiction. The labour courts discontinued the proceedings in December 2006, on the ground that the dispute concerned Mr Nagy’s service as a pastor and therefore the provisions of Labour Law were not applicable in his case. That decision was upheld on appeal in April 2007. Mr Nagy’s civil-law claim was also ultimately discontinued in May 2009, the Supreme Court concluding that there was no contractual relationship between Mr Nagy and the Calvinist Church and therefore his claim had no basis in civil law.

Mr Nagy complained about the Hungarian courts’ refusal to hear his claim for compensation on the merits, alleging that he had been denied access to a court merely on account of his position as a Calvinist pastor. He relied in particular on Article 6 § 1 (access to court).

  • No violation of Article 6 § 1

Press release ECHR 375 (2015) 01/12/2015

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