A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Europe court finds 30-year-long German case violates human rights

[JURIST] The European Court of Human Rights [official website] on Thursday ruled [judgment text] that Germany violated the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights [PDF text] by allowing a lawsuit to continue for 30 years. Jurgen Grasser filed a lawsuit against the city of Saarbrucken in 1974 after the city refused to grant him a building permit for a shopping center for his own land. After spending 30 years in and out of German courts, the European Court of Human Rights criticized the length of proceedings as "a particularly grave violation of the right to a hearing within a reasonable time." The court also said that Grasser "undoubtedly suffered distress resulting from the protracted length of the proceedings, which he had to conduct for almost all his working life."

Lawyers for the German government argued that there was no causal connection between the length of the proceedings and the damages alleged and that Grasser's compensation claims were excessive. Although Grasser had hoped for millions, he was awarded 60,000 euros ($76,446). Grasser still has another case pending before a German court, in which he claims 180 million euros in damages. Deutsche Welle has more.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.