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You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> European Court of Human Rights >> ALBERT AND LE COMPTE v. BELGIUM - 7299/75;7496/76 [1983] ECHR 1 (10 February 1983)
URL: http://www.bailii.org/eu/cases/ECHR/1983/1.html
Cite as: [1983] 5 EHRR 533, 5 EHRR 533, (1983) 5 EHRR 533, [1983] ECHR 1

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In the case of Albert and Le Compte,

The European Court of Human Rights, taking its decision in plenary

session in pursuance of Rule 48 of the Rules of Court and composed

of the following judges:

Mr. G. WIARDA, President,

Mr. R. RYSSDAL,

Mr. J. CREMONA,

Mr. THÓR VILHJÁLMSSON,

Mr. W. GANSHOF VAN DER MEERSCH,

Mrs. D. BINDSCHEDLER-ROBERT,

Mr. D. EVRIGENIS,

Mr. G. LAGERGREN,

Mr. L. LIESCH,

Mr. F. GÖLCÜKLÜ,

Mr. F. MATSCHER,

Mr. J. PINHEIRO FARINHA,

Mr. E. GARCÍA DE ENTERRÍA,

Mr. L.-E. PETTITI,

Mr. B. WALSH,

Sir VINCENT EVANS,

Mr. R. MACDONALD,

Mr. C. RUSSO,

Mr. R. BERNHARDT,

Mr. J. GERSING,

and also Mr. M.-A. EISSEN, Registrar, and Mr. H. PETZOLD, Deputy

Registrar,

Having deliberated in private from 28 to 30 September 1982, and from

26 to 28 January 1983,

Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on the

last-mentioned date:

PROCEDURE

1. The case of Albert and Le Compte was referred to the Court by the

European Commission of Human Rigths ("the Commission"). It

originated in two applications against Belgium (nos. 7299/75 and

7496/76) lodged with the Commission in 1975 and 1976 by two Belgian

nationals, Dr. Alfred Albert and Dr. Herman Le Compte, under

Article 25 (art. 25) of the Convention for the Protection of Human

Rights and Fundamental Freedoms ("the Convention"). The Commission

ordered the joinder of the applications on 10 July 1979.

2. The Commission's request was lodged with the registry of the Court

on 12 March 1982, within the period of three months laid down by

Articles 32 para. 1 and 47 (art. 32-1, art. 47). The request referred

to Articles 44 and 48 (art. 44, art. 48) and to the declaration made

by the Kingdom of Belgium recognising the compulsory jurisdiction of

the Court (Article 46) (art. 46). The purpose of the Commissions's

request was to obtain a decision from the Court as to whether the

disciplinary proceedings instituted against the applicants before the

competent bodies of the Belgian Ordre des médecins (Medical

Association) breached the rights guaranteed by the Convention,

particularly by Articles 3 and 6 thereof (art. 3, art. 6).

3. The Chamber of seven judges to be constituted included, as ex

officio members, Mr. W. Ganshof van der Meersch, the elected judge

of Belgian nationality (Article 43 of the Convention) (art. 43),

and Mr. G. Wiarda, the President of the Court (Rule 21 3 (b) of the

Rules of Court). On 26 March 1982, the President drew by lot, in the

presence of the Registrar, the names of the five other members of the

Chamber, namely Mr. M. Zekia, Mr. J. Cremona, Mr. D. Evrigenis,

Mr. R. Macdonald, and Mr. J. Gersing (Article 43 in fine of

the Convention and Rule 21 para. 4) (art. 43).

4. After assuming the office of President of the Chamber

(Rule 21 para. 5), Mr. Wiarda ascertained through the Registrar the

views of the Agent of the Belgian Government ("the Government") and

the Delegates of the Commission as regards the procedure to be

followed. On 3 May 1982, having particular regard to their concurring

statements, he concluded that there was no need for memorials to be

filed; he also directed that the oral proceedings should open

on 27 September.

5. On 28 May 1982, the Chamber decided under Rule 48 to relinquish

jurisdiction forthwith in favour of the plenary Court.

6. On 27 August, the President instructed the Registrar to request

the Commission to produce several documents to the Court and the

Government to furnish certain information. The representatives

complied with these requests on 8 and 27 September.

7. The oral proceedings were held in public at the Human Rights

Building, Strasbourg, on 27 September 1982. The Court held a

preparatory meeting immediately beforehand.

There appeared before the Court:

- for the Government

Mr. J. NISET, LEGAL ADVISER at the Ministry of Justice, Agent,

Mr. J.-M. NELISSEN GRADE, Counsel,

Mr. J. PUTZEYS,

Mr. S. GEHLEN, lawyers for the Ordre des médecins,

Mr. F. VERHAEGEN, adviser at the Ministry of Public Health,

Mr. F. VINCKENBOSCH, secrétaire d'administration at the

Ministry of Public Health, Advisers;

- for the Commission

Mr. G. SPERDUTI,

Mr. M. MELCHIOR, Delegates,

Mr. J. BULTINCK, Dr. Le Compte's lawyer before the Commission,

assisting the Delegates (Rule 29 para. 1, second sentence,

of the Rules of Court).

THE FACTS

I. THE PARTICULAR CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE

A. Doctor Albert

8. Dr. Alfred Albert is a medical practitioner. He was born in 1908,

lives at Molenbeek and is a Belgian national.

9. By letter of 9 April 1974, the Brabant Provincial Council of the

Ordre des médecins (Medical Association) notified him of the opening

of an enquiry regarding him; it summoned him to appear before its

Bureau on 8 May to answer questions in connection with a series of

certificates of unfitness for work issued by him, asking him to

bring with him the medical files of the patients concerned.

The applicant appeared on the prescribed date. The Bureau of the

Provincial Council informed him that he was accused of having issued

spurious certificates.

On 16 May, the President of the Provincial Council sent Dr. Albert a

registered letter which read:

"Dear Colleague,

The Brabant Council of the Ordre des médecins requests the honour of

your appearance before it on Tuesday, 4 June 1974 at 8.30 p.m., 32

Place de Jamblinne de Meux, in order to present your defence in

connection with the following complaint, namely that of

- having issued various certificates of unfitness for work,

in particular:

on 26.12.1973 to B...,

on 7.1.1974 to T...,

on 9.1.1974 to A...,

without having satisfied yourself in a strict manner, by means of a

sufficiently thorough examination, of the justification of the

unfitness for work and while not possessing any medical record in

relation to these patients,

these facts having compromised the reputation, probity and dignity of

the medical profession.

The case-file concerning you may be consulted at the Council's office

on any working day from 9.00 a.m. until 11.30 a.m., and from 2.00 p.m.

5.00 p.m., except on Saturday afternoon, from 18 to 31 May inclusive.

You may be assisted by one or more lawyers.

Yours faithfully, ..."

On 4 June, the Provincial Council heard Dr. Albert and suspended his

right to practise medicine for a period of two years. It found that

Dr. Albert had "carried out no medical examinations such as to

warrant finding a state of unfitness for work", that he had been

unable to produce "any medical document whatsoever capable of

establishing" such a state, and that neither had "his memory

permitted him ... to come forward with any justification". It

considered that "it ought to impose a very severe sanction" in

view of "the very serious disciplinary record" of the applicant

(two suspensions from practice following criminal convictions).

Mr. Albert was notified of the decision on 11 June.

10. Dr. Albert appealed to the French-language Appeals Council of the

Ordre on 18 June. The Provincial Council's legal assessor did

likewise on 26 June in order to have the penalty increased.

On 19 November, the Appeals Council upheld the decision given at

first instance.

11. By judgment of 12 June 1975, the Court of Cassation rejected the

applicant's appeal on a point of law alleging violation of the

rights of defence and, in so far as relevant, of Article 97 of the

Constitution.

B. Doctor Le Compte

12. Dr. Herman Le Compte, a Belgian national born in 1929 and living

at Knokke-Heist, is a medical practitioner.

13. On 22 Febrary 1974, the West Flanders Provincial Council of the

Ordre des médecins informed him that an enquiry had been ordered

concerning him for "improper publicity" (ongeoorloofde

publiciteit) and "contempt (beledigingen) of the Ordre": he had

given three interviews to magazines and sent a letter to the

President of the Provincial Council.

On 26 March, the applicant wrote to the said President to advise him

of his intention to exercise his right, under sections 40 an 41 of

the Royal Decree of 6 February 1970, to challenge the Provincial

Council's members as a whole.

On 27 March, the Provincial Council, by decision rendered in

absentia, rejected the applicant's challenge and suspended his right

to practise medicine for a period of two years.

14. The applicant entered an appeal on 5 April 1974. He alleged,

amongst other things, violation of Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1)

of the Convention:

"This provision of the Convention guarantees to a litigant that his

case will be dealt with at a public hearing by an independent and

impartial tribunal. In the particular circumstances of the case,

neither of these two guarantees was assured.

(a) Cases before the Councils of the Ordre des médecins are not dealt

with at a public hearing even though no reason of public policy

exists for dealing with cases in camera or, at least, for

pronouncing decisions in camera. Consequently, honest treatment in

accordance with the principles of the European Convention is

rendered impossible.

(b) The Councils of the Ordre are, by reason of their membership

alone, neither independent nor impartial since half of their members

are other medical practitioners." (Translation from Dutch)

The legal assessor of the Provincial Council did not avail himself of

his own right to appeal.

On 28 October, the Dutch-language Appeals Council rejected the

grounds challenging its members and changed the applicants'

suspension into striking his name from the register of the Ordre.

On 4 November, Dr. Le Compte lodged an objection (opposition) against

this decision, which had been given in absentia.

As he had been summoned to appear at a hearing on 16 December, he

lodged a further challenge on 6 December against the Appeals

Council's members as a whole.

On 6 January 1975, the Appeals Council rejected both the objection

and the challenge.

15. The applicant thereupon appealed on a point of law to the court

of Cassation, but his appeal was dismissed by judgment of

7 November 1975, which was notified to him on 25 November.

16. The striking of Dr. Le Compte's name from the register of the

Ordre took effect on 26 December.

Under sections 7 para. 1 and 31 of Royal Decree No. 79 of

10 November 1967 and section 38 para. 1 of Royal Decree No. 78 of the

same date, being struck off the register has the consequence of

debarring him from practising medicine.

II. THE ORDRE DES MEDECINS

17. Belgian legislation on the Ordre des médecins, particularly on

the organs of the Ordre and the procedure followed in disciplinary

matters, is described in the Le Compte, Van Leuven and De Meyere

judgment of 23 June 1981 (Series A no. 43, pp. 11-17, paras. 20-34).

The Court refers back to this judgment in this connection.

PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE COMMISSION

18. Dr. Albert applied to the Commission on 10 December 1975,

Dr. Le Compte on 6 May 1976.

Both applicants alleged a breach of Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1)

of the Convention. They maintained in particular that they

had not been given a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time

by and independent and impartial tribunal established by law.

Dr. Albert further asserted that he had not received the benefit of

the guarantees of Article 6 paras. 2 and 3 (a), (b) and (d) (art. 6-2,

art. 6-3-a, art. 6-3-b, art. 6-3-d).

Dr. Le Compte, for his part, contended that the striking of his name

from the register of the Ordre was an inhuman or degrading punishment

in breach of Article 3 (art. 3) and that the obligation to join the

Ordre and submit to its disciplinary organs violated Article 11

(art. 11) taken on its own or in conjunction with Article 17

(art. 17+11).

19. The Commission declared both applications admissible on

4 December 1979 after ordering their joinder on 10 July 1979 under

Rule 29 of its Rules of Procedure.

In its report of 14 December 1981 (Article 31 of the Convention)

(art. 31), its expressed the opinion:

- that there had been no violation of Article 3 (art. 3) (unanimously);

- that neither Dr. Albert (8 votes to 4, with 1 abstention) nor

Dr. Le Compte (12 votes, with 1 abstention) had been subject to a

"criminal charge";

- that Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) applied to the "contestations"

(disputes) over "civil rights and obligations" which had led to the

disciplinary measures taken against the applicants (12 votes to 1);

- that, in the circumstances, the organs of the Ordre were

"established by law" and were "independent" (10 votes, with

3 abstentions);

- that Dr. Albert (7 votes to 4, with 2 abstentions) and Dr. Le Compte

(8 votes to 1, with 4 abstentions) had been given a hearing by an

"impartial tribunal";

- that Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) had been violated in that neither

applicant had been given a "public hearing" (11 votes to 1, with

1 abstention).

Noting that Dr. Le Compte's allegations regarding Article 11 (art. 11)

were similar to those he had made in the case of Le Compte, Van Leuven

and De Meyere, the Commission referred back to its report of

14 December 1979 (paras. 61-65) and to the Court's judgment of

23 June 1981 (Series A no. 43, p. 17, para. 36, and pp. 26-27,

paras. 62-66).

The report contains four separate opinions.

FINAL SUBMISSIONS MADE TO THE COURT

20. At the hearing held on 27 September 1982, the Government

requested the Court

"to hold that there has been, in the present cases, no violation of

Article 3 (art. 3) or of any of the provisions of Article 6 (art. 6)

of the Convention".

AS TO THE LAW

I. ALLEGED BREACH OF ARTICLE 3 (art. 3)

21. One of the applicants, Dr. Le Compte, invoked Article 3 (art. 3)

of the Convention, which provides:

"No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading

treatment or punishment."

In his submission, his being struck off the register of the Ordre des

médecins constituted a degrading, if not inhuman, punishment both in

its nature and in its effects on his private, professional and

family life.

22. The Court concurs in substance with the contrary opinion

expressed by the Commission in paragraph 57 of its report. It

observes that withdrawal, as a disciplinary measure, of the right to

practise is intended to penalise a doctor whose serious misconduct

has shown that he no longer satisfies the required conditions for

exercising the medical profession. The Court sees no cause to

question the very principle of the legitimacy of measures of this

kind, which moreover exist in the majority of the member States of

the Council of Europe. Neither is it called upon to determine

whether this measure was justified in the present case.

Taken on its own, the withdrawal complained of had as its object the

imposition of a sanction on Dr. Le Compte for the misconduct imputed

to him, but not the debasement of his personality; nor, as far as

its consequences are concerned, did it adversely affect his

personality in a manner incompatible with Article 3 (art. 3).

There has accordingly been no breach of that Article (art. 3).

II. ALLEGED BREACH OF ARTICLE 6 PARA. 1 (art. 6-1)

23. Doctors Albert and Le Compte claimed to be victims of violations

of Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) of the Convention, which reads:

"In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any

criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and

public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and

impartial tribunal established by law. Judgment shall be pronounced

publicly but the press and public may be excluded from all or part

of the trial in the interests of morals, public order or national

security in a democratic society, where the interests of juveniles

or the protection of the private life of the parties so require, or

to the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in

special circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests

of justice."

24. The first matter for decision is whether this provision is

applicable; the Commission and the applicants affirmed that it was,

but this was disputed by the Government.

A. APPLICABILITY OF ARTICLE 6 PARA. 1 (art. 6-1)

25. Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) applies only to the determination of

"civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge" (in the

French text: "contestations sur [des] droits et obligations de

caractère civil" and "bien-fondé de toute accusation en matière

pénale"). As the Court has held on several occasions, there are some

cases (in the French text: "causes") which are not comprised within

either of these categories and which thus fall outside the ambit of

Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) (see the above-mentioned Le Compte,

Van Leuven and De Meyere judgment, Series A no. 43, p. 19, para. 41,

and the references therein to previous case law)

Disciplinary proceedings do not ordinarily lead to a contestation

(dispute) over "civil rights and obligations"; however, the

position may be otherwise in certain circumstances (ibid., p. 19,

para. 42). Again, disciplinary proceedings as such cannot be

characterised as "criminal", although this may not hold good for

certain specific cases (see the Engel and others judgment of

8 June 1976, Series A no. 22, pp. 33-36, paras. 80-85).

26. As in the case of Le Compte, Van Leuven and De Meyere, it is

necessary to determine whether Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) applied to

the whole or part of the proceedings that took place before the

provincial and Appeals Councils, which are disciplinary organs, and

subsequently before the Court of Cassation.

1. Existence of "contestations" (disputes) over "civil rights and

obligations"

27. Dr. Le Compte and, in his alternative submission, Dr. Albert

contended that the disciplinary proceedings taken against them gave

rise to "contestations" (disputes) over their "civil rights and

obligations".

The issue thus raised is to a large extent the same as that already

decided in the judgment of 23 June 1981, a judgment delivered by the

plenary Court (Rule 48 of the Rules of Court). The Court sees no

cause to depart from that judgment, especially since Dr. Le Compte,

the Government and the Commission each referred back to their

respective arguments in the case of Le Compte, Van Leuven and

De Meyere.

As in that case, the evidence discloses the existence of a veritable

"contestation" (dispute). The Ordre des médecins alleged that the

applicants had committed professional misconduct rendering them

liable to sanctions and they denied those allegations. After the

Provincial Council had found them guilty and ordered their

suspension from practice - decisions that were taken after hearing

Dr. Albert's submissions on issues of fact and of law in his case

(Brabant) and in absentia in the case of Dr. Le Compte (West

Flanders) -, the applicants appealed to the Appeals Council. Their

appeals proved unsuccessful, whereupon they applied to the Court of

Cassation (see paragraphs 11 and 15 above).

28. In addition, it must be shown that the "contestation"

(dispute) related to "civil rights and obligations", in other

words that the "result of the proceedings" was "decisive" for

such a right (see the Ringeisen judgment of 16 July 1971, Series A

no. 13, p. 39, para. 94).

(a) On the first point (direct relationship between the

"contestation" (dispute) and a right), the Court would recall that

a tenuous connection or remote consequences do not suffice for

Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1): a right must be the object - or one

of the objects - of the "contestation" (dispute) (see the

above-mentioned Le Compte, Van Leuven and De Meyere judgment, Series A

no. 43, p. 21, para. 47).

According to the Government, "the sole object of disciplinary

proceedings" is to "investigate" and "decide whether the person

being proceeded against has contravened the rules of professional

conduct" or "damaged the reputation or dignity of the profession

and, if so", "to impose a disciplinary sanction on him".

The Court is unable to share this point of view. The suspensions

ordered by the Provincial Council against Dr. Albert on 4 June 1974 and

against Dr. Le Compte on 27 March 1974 were to deprive them

temporarily of their right to practise medicine. The appeals they

brought were primarily aimed at having the measures in question

cancelled. The right to practise was therefore directly in issue

before the Appeals Council, which moreover could, and in the case of

Dr. Le Compte did, increase the severity of the sanction. It

remained in issue before the Court of Cassation, which likewise was

required to examine - within the limits of its jurisdiction - the

applicants' complaints against the decisions affecting them.

(b) On the second point (whether it was a civil right), the Court

notes that - as in the König case and the case of Le Compte,

Van Leuven and De Meyere - the right in issue was the right to

continue to exercise the medical profession. In its judgments

of 28 June 1978 and 23 June 1981, the Court found that, in the

particular circumstances of each of the two last-mentioned cases, this

was a private right and thus a civil right within the meaning of

Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1); it therefore concluded that

Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) was applicable (Series A no. 27, p. 32,

para. 95, and Series A no. 43, p. 22, para. 48).

The effect of the disciplinary sanctions in question was to divest the

applicants, temporarily (Dr. Albert) or permanently (Dr. Le Compte), of

the aforesaid right, which they had duly acquired and which allowed

them to pursue the goals of their professional life.

It is not for the Court to go beyond the facts submitted for its

consideration and determine whether, for the medical profession as a

whole, this right profession as a whole, this right is a civil right,

within the meaning of Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) (see notably,

mutatis mutandis, the Golder judgment of 21 February 1975, Series A

no. 18, p. 19, para. 39). It is sufficient to note that it is by means

of private relationships with their client and patients that doctors

in private practice, such as the applicants, avail themselves of the

right to continue to practise; in Belgium, the relationships are

usually contractual and, in any event, are directly established

between individuals on a personal basis. Accordingly, the right to

continue to practise constituted, in the case of the applicants, a

private right and thus a civil right within the meaning of

Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1), notwithstanding the specific character of

the medical profession - a profession which is exercised in the

general interest - and the special duties incumbent on its members.

29. Since the "contestation" (dispute) over the decisions taken

against them concerned a "civil right", the applicants were

entitled to have their cases (in French: "causes") heard by a

"tribunal" satisfying the conditions laid down in Article 6 para. 1

(art. 6-1) (see the above-mentioned Golder judgment, Series A

no. 18, p. 18, para. 36). In many member States of the Council of

Europe, the duty of adjudicating on disciplinary offences is conferred

on jurisdictional organs of professional associations. Even in

instances where Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) is applicable, conferring

powers in this manner does not in itself infringe the Convention (see

the above-mentioned Le Compte, Van Leuven and De Meyere judgment,

Series A no. 43, p. 23, first sub-paragraph). Nonetheless, in such

circumstances the Convention calls at least for one of the two

following systems: either the jurisdictional organs themselves comply

with the requirements of Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1), or they do not

so comply but are subject to subsequent control by a judicial body

that has full jurisdiction and does provide the guarantees of

Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1).

In the present instance, the applicants' cases were dealt with by

three bodies, namely the Provincial Council, the Appeals Council and

the Court of Cassation. As in the case of Le Compte, Van Leuven and

De Meyere, the Court does not consider it indispensable to pursue this

point as regards the Provincial Council (ibid.). On the other hand,

the Court must satisfy itself that before the Appeals Council or,

failing that, before the Court of Cassation Dr. Albert and

Dr. Le Compte had the benefit of the "right to a court" (see the

above-mentioned Golder judgment, Series A no. 18, p. 18, para. 36) and

of a determination by a tribunal of the matters in dispute (see the

above-mentioned König judgment, Series A no. 27, p. 34, para. 98 in

fine), both for questions of fact and for questions of law.

2. Existence of "criminal charges"

30. The main contention of Dr. Albert - but not of Dr. Le Compte -

was that the organs of the Ordre des médecins were required to

determine a "criminal charge". The government disputed this; they

asserted in particular that Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1), assuming it

to be applicable, could not come into operation at one and the same

under the head of "civil rights and obligations" and under the head of

"criminal charge".

When deciding on the admissibility of the applications, the

Commission did not rule out the criminal aspect of Article 6 para. 1

(art. 6-1). The Commission then examined the nature of the acts of

misconduct of which the applicants had been accused - certain of these

acts could have given rise to criminal prosecution - and the severity

of the penalties imposed; it concluded in its report, however, that

neither Dr. Albert nor Dr. Le Compte had been subject to a "criminal

charge".

For its part, the Court does not believe that the two aspects, civil

and criminal, of Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) are necessarily mutually

exclusive (see the above-mentioned Engel and others judgment, Series A

no. 22, pp. 36-37, para. 87; the above-mentioned König judgment,

Series A no. 27, pp. 32-33, para. 96; and the above-mentioned Le

Compte, Van Leuven and De Meyere judgment, Series A no. 43, pp. 23-24,

paras. 52-53). Nonetheless, the Court does not consider it necessary to

decide whether, in the specific circumstances, there was a "criminal

charge". In point of fact, paragraph 1 of Article 6 (art. 6-1),

violation of which was alleged by the two applicants, applies in civil

matters as well as in the criminal sphere (see the above-mentioned

Le Compte, Van Leuven and De Meyere judgment, Series A no. 43, pp. 23-24,

para. 53). Dr. Albert relied in addition on paragraph 2 and on

sub-paragraphs (a), (b) and (d) of paragraph 3 (art. 6-2, art. 6-3-a,

art. 6-3-b, art. 6-3-d), but, in the opinion of the Court, the

principles enshrined therein are, for the present purposes, already

contained in the notion of a fair trial as embodied in paragraph 1

(art. 6-1); the Court will therefore take these principles into

account in the context of paragraph 1 (art. 6-1) (see paragraphs 38-42

below).

B. Compliance with Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1)

31. In the case of Le Compte, Van Leuven and De Meyere, the Court

investigated whether the Appeals Council and the Court of Cassation

in fact constituted "tribunals" that were "established by law",

"independent" and "impartial", and had afforded the applicants a

"public hearing". In the present case, the Court does not adjudge

it necessary to revert to the first three points; it had, as had the

Commission, come to the conclusion that no violation had occurred.

There thus remain the guarantees of impartiality and publicity.

1. Impartiality

32. No issue can be taken as to the impartiality of the Court of

Cassation (see the above-mentioned Le Compte, Van Leuven and

De Meyere judgment, Series A no. 43, p. 25, para. 58).

With regard to the Appeals Council, the Commission no longer

maintained that the Council's medical members had to be considered

as unfavourable to the applicants since they had interests very

close to those of one of the parties to the proceedings (ibid.); the

Commission further noted that Dr. Le Compte - but not Dr. Albert -

had endeavoured to challenge the Council's medical members as a

whole, without however putting forward any specific complaint

against one or other of them (see paragraph 14 above). Whilst

stating reservations as to the impartiality of the instruction as

such, the Commission expressed the opinion that on this point, no

violation of Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) had occurred.

The Court concurs with this conclusion. In principle, the personal

impartiality of the members of a "tribunal" must be presumed until

there is proof to the contrary (see the above-mentioned Le Compte,

Van Leuven and De Meyere judgment, ibid.); Dr. Le Compte did indeed

avail himself of his right of challenge, but he did so in such a

vague fashion that his objection could not be regarded as

well-founded (see paragraph 14 above). As for impartiality judged

from an objective and organisational point of view (see, mutatis

mutandis, the Piersack judgment of 1 October 1982, Series A no. 53,

pp. 14-15, para. 30), there is nothing in the material submitted to

prompt the Court to call the matter into question. In particular,

the manner of appointment of the medical practitioners sitting on

the Appeals Councils provides no cause for treating those

individuals as biased: although elected by the Provincial Councils

(see the above-mentioned Le Compte, Van Leuven and De Meyere

judgment, Series A no. 43, p. 14, para. 26), they act not as

representatives of the Ordre des médecins but - like the legal

members nominated by the Crown - in a personal capacity.

2. Publicity

33. Under Belgian law, the professional jurisdictional organs and the

Court of Cassation are governed by different rules regarding

publicity.

(a) Before the Appeals Council

34. Under the Royal Decree of 6 February 1970, all publicity before

the Appeals Council is excluded, both for hearings and for

pronouncement of the decision. Unless remedied at a later stage of the

procedure, a prohibition of this kind may deprive the persons

concerned of one of the safeguards set forth in the first sentence of

Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) of the Convention. Subject to the

exceptions permitted by the second sentence, the defendant medical

practitioner is entitled to such publicity if, during the course of

disciplinary proceedings brought against him, there arises a

contestation (dispute) over civil rights and obligations (see the

above-mentioned Le Compte, Van Leuven and de Meyere judgment, Series A

no. 43, p. 25, para. 59).

The conditions upon which Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) makes the various

exceptions dependent were not met in respect of Dr. Le Compte. The

Court notes in particular that, as in the case of Le Compte, Van

Leuven and de Meyere (ibid.), the very nature of the misconduct

alleged against Dr. Le Compte and of his own complaints against the

Ordre (see paragraphs 13-14 above) was not concerned with the

medical treatment of his patients. There is nothing to suggest that

one of the grounds listed in the second sentence of Article 6 para. 1

(art. 6-1) could have justified sitting in camera.

In respect of Dr. Albert the matter is different, in that the offences

of which he was accused (see paragraph 9 above) related directly to

the exercise of the medical profession, which might conceivably raise

questions coming within the exceptions listed in Article 6 para. 1

(art. 6-1). However, the material submitted to the Court does

not suffice to show that the circumstances were such as to warrant the

absence of publicity.

35. The rule requiring a public hearing, as embodied in

Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1), may also yield in certain circumstances

to the will of the person concerned. Admittedly, the nature of some

of the rights safeguarded by the Convention is such as to exclude a

waiver of the entitlement to exercise them (see the De Wilde, Ooms and

Versyp judgment of 18 June 1971, Series A no. 12, p. 36, para. 65), but

the same cannot be said of certain other rights. Thus, neither the

letter nor the spirit of Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) would prevent a

medical practitioner from waiving, of his own free will and in an

unequivocal manner (see the Neumeister judgment of 7 May 1974,

Series A no. 17, p. 16, para. 36), the entitlement to have his case

heard in public; conducting disciplinary proceedings of this kind in

private does not contravene Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) if the

domestic law so permits and this is in accordance with the will of the

person concerned (see the above-mentioned Le Compte, Van Leuven and de

Meyere judgment, Series A no. 43, p. 25, para. 59).

However, far from giving any agreement to this effect, Dr. Le Compte

had sought to have a public hearing (see paragraph 14 above).

Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) did not provide any justification for

denying him such a hearing, as none of the circumstances of exception

set out in its second sentence existed (see paragraph 34 above).

Dr. Albert, for his part, had made no similar request, but the

evidence before the Court does not establish that he intended to waive

the publicity to which he was entitled under the Convention.

(b) Before the Court of Cassation

36. The public character of the cassation proceedings does not

suffice to remedy the defect found to exist at the stage of the

disciplinary proceedings. The Court of Cassation does not take

cognisance of the merits of the case, which means that many aspects

of "contestations" (disputes) concerning "civil rights and

obligations", including review of the facts and assessment of the

proportionality between the fault and the sanction, fall outside its

jurisdiction (see the above-mentioned Le Compte, Van Leuven and

De Meyere judgment, Series A no. 43, p. 16, para. 33).

37. To sum up, the cases (in French: "causes") of Dr. Albert and

Dr. Le Compte were not heard publicly by a tribunal competent to

determine all the aspects of the matter and pronouncing judgment

publicly. In this respect, there was, in the particular

circumstances, a breach of Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1).

III. ALLEGED BREACH OF ARTICLE 6 PARAS. 2 AND 3 (a), (b) AND (d)

(art. 6-2, art. 6-3-a, art. 6-3-b, art. 6-3-d)

38. One of the two applicants, Dr. Albert, claimed that he had not

received the benefit of the guarantees set forth in paragraph 2 of

Article 6 (art. 6-2) and in three sub-paragraphs of paragraph 3

(art. 6-3-a, art. 6-3-b, art. 6-3-d):

"2. Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed

innocent until proved guilty according to law.

3. Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following

minimum rights:

(a) to be informed promptly, in a language which he understands and

in detail, of the nature and cause of the accusation against him;

(b) to have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his

defence;

...

(d) to examine or have examined witnesses against him and to obtain

the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the

same conditions as witnesses against him;

..."

Having concluded that the applicants had not been subject to a

"criminal charge" (see paragraph 19 above), the Commission did not

express any opinion on these claims, which had been disputed by the

Government.

39. For its part, the Court considered it unnecessary to give a

ruling on the applicability of paragraph 1 of Article 6 (art. 6-1)

under the criminal head, but decided to examine in the context of the

interpretation of the notion of "fair trial" in paragraph 1

(art. 6-1) the substance of the complaints made by the applicant under

paragraphs 2 and 3 (art. 6-2, art. 6-3) (see paragraph 30 above). In

the opinion of the Court, the principles set out in paragraph 2

(art. 6-2) and in the provisions of paragraph 3 invoked by

Dr. Albert (that is to say, only sub-paragraphs (a), (b) and (d))

(art. 6-3-a, art. 6-3-b, art. 6-3-d) are applicable, mutatis mutandis,

to disciplinary proceedings subject to paragraph 1 (art. 6-1) in the

same way as in the case of a person charged with a criminal offence.

40. As regards observance of the presumption of innocence,

Dr. Albert made three criticisms of the Brabant Provincial Council of

the Ordre des médecins: allowing itself to be influenced by his

previous criminal record, basing its decision on insufficient evidence

and having declined to hear evidence in rebuttal.

None of these claims stands up to examination. As the text of the

decision of 4 June 1974 clearly shows, the Provincial Council did

indeed take account of the applicant's previous record for the

purposes of fixing the sanction, but the principle enshrined in

Article 6 para. 2 (art. 6-2) does not preclude this (see the

above-mentioned Engel and others judgment, Series A no. 22, pp. 37-38,

para. 90). The Provincial Council grounded its opinion on a series of

concordant factors, including Dr. Albert's own statements. Finally, at

no stage did Dr. Albert offer evidence in rebuttal.

41. Under paragraph 3 of Article 6 (art. 6-3), the applicant asserted

that he had not been informed in detail of the accusations against

him, that he had not had adequate time for the preparation of his

defence and that he had not had the benefit of the right to obtain the

attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf. These

allegations are unfounded. The letter written to Dr. Albert by the

President of the Provincial Council and inviting him to appear before

the Bureau of the Council specified the nature and cause of the

complaints made against him by the Ordre (see paragraph 9 above). In

addition, the applicant had more than fifteen days in which to prepare

his defence. A time-limit of this length, which is provided for under

section 25 of the Royal Decree of 6 February 1970, appears in itself

to be reasonable, especially in view of the lack of complexity of the

case. Finally, there is nothing in the evidence to suggest that

Dr. Albert endeavoured to obtain the attendance and examination of

witnesses on his behalf and was met with a refusal.

42. Accordingly, the Court considers that in this respect there was

no violation of Article 6 (art. 6).

IV. ALLEGED BREACH OF ARTICLE 11 (art. 11)

43. One of the two applicants, Dr. Le Compte, alleged a breach of

Article 11 (art. 11), which reads:

"1. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and

freedom of association with others, including the right to form and

to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

2. No restrictions shall be placed on the exercise of these rights

other than such as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a

democratic society in the interests of national security or public

safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of

health or morals or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of

others. This Article (art. 11) shall not prevent the imposition of

lawful restrictions on the exercise of these rights by members of the

armed forces, of the police or of the administration of the State."

In the submission of Dr. Le Compte, the obligation to join the Ordre

des médecins (see the above-mentioned Le Compte, Van Leuven and De

Meyere judgment, Series A no. 43, p. 12, para. 21) inhibited freedom of

association - which implied freedom not to associate - and went beyond

the limits of the restrictions permitted under paragraph 2 of

Article 11 (art. 11-2); furthermore, so he contended, the very

existence of the Ordre had the effect of eliminating freedom of

association.

In view of its opinion of 14 December 1979 on applications nos.

6878/75 75 and 7238/75 of Doctors Le Compte, Van Leuven and de Meyere

(see the above-mentioned judgment of 23 June 1981, Series A no. 43,

p. 26, para. 63), the Commission considered it pointless in the instant

case to hear fresh argument on observance of Article 11 (art. 11). The

parties therefore referred back to their previous submissions before

the Commission and the Court. During the hearing held on

27 September 1982, those appearing before the Court - and notably

counsel for Dr. Le Compte - did not revert to the question.

44. The Court sees no cause to depart from the decision it gave on

this same issue in its judgment of 23 June 1981 (ibid., pp. 26-27,

paras. 64-66). It is sufficient to recall the following: that the Ordre

des médecins cannot be regarded as an association within the meaning

of Article 11 (art. 11); that the existence of the Ordre and the

resultant obligation on practitioners to be entered on its register

and to be subject to the authority of its organs clearly have neither

the object nor the effect of limiting, even less suppressing, the

right safeguarded by Article 11 para. 1 (art. 11-1); and that there is

thus no reason to examine the case under paragraph 2 of Article 11

(art. 11-2) or to determine whether the Convention recognises the

freedom not to associate.

V. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 50 (art. 50)

45. At the hearing, counsel for Dr. Le Compte asked the Court, in the

event of its finding a breach of the Convention, to afford his client

just satisfaction under Article 50 (art. 50). However, he was of the

view that the question was not yet ready for decision.

The Commission's Delegates, for their part, requested the Court to

defer ruling on this point in the absence of any indication from

Dr. Albert or his counsel.

The Government made no submissions on the issue.

46. Accordingly, although it was raised under Rule 47 bis of the

Rules of Court, this question is not yet ready for decision and must

be reserved; in the circumstances of the case, the Court considers

that the question should be referred back to the Chamber under

Rule 50 para. 4 of the Rules of Court.

FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT

1. Holds unanimously that there has been no breach of Article 3

(art. 3) of the Convention with respect to Dr. Le Compte;

2. Holds by sixteen votes to four that Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1)

was applicable to the hearing of the case (in French: "cause") of each

of the applicants;

3. Holds by sixteen votes to four that there has been a breach of

Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) in that the applicant's cases (in French:

"causes") were not heard publicly by the Appeals Council and that the

latter did not pronounce its judgment publicly;

4. Holds unanimously that there has been no breach of Article 6

(art. 6) as regards the applicants' other complaints, and no breach

of Article 11 (art. 11) with respect to Dr. Le Compte;

5. Holds unanimously that the question of the application of

Article 50 (art. 50) is not yet ready for decision;

accordingly,

(a) reserves the whole of the said question;

(b) refers the said question back to the Chamber under

Rule 50 para. 4 of the Rules of Court.

Done in English and in French, the French text being authentic, at the

Human Rights Building, Strasbourg, this tenth day of February, one

thousand nine hundred and eighty-three.

Signed: Gérard Wiarda,

President

Signed: Marc-André Eissen,

Registrar

A declaration by Mr. Thór Vilhjálmsson and, in accordance with

Article 51 para. 2 (art. 51-2) of the Convention and Rule 50 para. 2 of

the Rules of Court, the following separate opinions are annexed to the

present judgment:

- joint concurring opinion of Mr. Cremona and

Mrs. Bindschedler-Robert;

- dissenting opinion of Mr. Liesch;

- partly dissenting opinion of Mr. Matscher;

- partly dissenting opinion of Mr. Pinheiro Farinha;

- partly dissenting opinion of Sir Vincent Evans.

Initialled: G.W.

Initialled: M.-A.E.

DECLARATION OF JUDGE THÓR VILHJÁLMSSON

My vote in this case reflects a change from my vote in the case

of Le Compte, Van Leuven and De Meyere. This change is

prompted by the majority decision in that case.

JOINT CONCURRING OPINION OF JUDGES CREMONA

AND BINDSCHEDLER-ROBERT

We agree with all the conclusions reached in the operative part

of the judgment.

Thus also in regard to Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) of the Convention

we, like the majority of our colleagues, have come to the conclusion

that there is in this case in respect of both applicants a violation

of that provision. But with regard to the applicability of that

provision to the case we rely on grounds different from those relied

upon by the majority. In fact, in the circumstances of the case,

as in the analogous case of Le Compte, Van Leuven and De Meyere

and for the reasons set out in our joint separate opinion annexed

to the Court's judgment in that case, we find that the proceedings

complained of by the applicants concerned not the determination

of civil rights or obligations but, as explained in that opinion,

the determination of a criminal charge, within the meaning of the

said Article 6 (art. 6).

Finally, in order to avoid repetition, we deem it sufficient for

the purposes of the present case to refer to that opinion.

DISSENTING OPINION OF JUDGE LIESCH

(Translation)

The Albert and Le Compte judgment confirms me in the dissenting

opinion I expressed in the case of Le Compte, Van Leuven and

De Meyere.

Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) of the Convention is not applicable to

disciplinary matters.

The sole object of disciplinary proceedings is to determine whether

a rule of professional conduct may have been infringed. The dispute

(contestation), the argument, is not a priori concerned with the

right to continue the practice of medicine but only with the issue

whether the behaviour of the medical practitioner is such as to

entail a disciplinary sanction.

Within the framework of such a dispute there is no element of private

law.

The misconception results from too wide an interpretation of the

Ringeisen judgment of 16 July 1971.

The specific case is treated as a decision of principle and applied

to circumstances of a different kind.

In point of fact, in that judgment the Court stated that "the French

expression 'contestations sur (des) droits et obligations de caractère

civil' covers all proceedings the result of which is decisive for

private rights and obligations" and that "the English text,

'determination of ... civil rights and obligations', confirms this

interpretation" (Series A no. 13).

To appreciate the scope of this principle, it is essential to read

the above-quoted passage together with the final sub-paragraph

of paragraph 94 where the Court applies its postulate to the specific

facts of the case :

"Although it was applying rules of administrative law, the Regional

Commission's decision was to be decisive for the relations in civil

law ('de caractère civil') between Ringeisen and the Roth couple."

Whether the administrative decision was positive or negative

- approval or rejection of the contract of sale -, it was bound,

in either event, to have a direct, immediate effect on civil rights

and obligations; in either event, the outcome of a civil right

in issue depended upon the measure taken by the executive and

administrative bodies.

The inescapable result of the decision was thus to confirm, modify

or annul civil rights or obligations.

And the Court was able to state further that "the character of

the legislation which governs how the matter is to be determined

(civil, commercial, administrative law, etc.) and that of the

authority which is invested with jurisdiction in the matter (ordinary

court, administrative body, etc.) are therefore of little

consequence".

This is not the position, however, in the present case.

The Provincial Council's decision was capable of being decisive

for private-law relations, but it was not bound to be. The

disciplinary proceedings in the instant case, unlike the

administrative proceedings in the Ringeisen case, did not inevitably

affect civil rights and obligations.

Had the Provincial Council merely imposed, for example, a reprimand

in respect of the applicants, the outcome of the proceedings would

not have been decisive, in that the right to practise would not

have been directly in issue.

In my view, Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) is not applicable to the present

facts.

PARTLY DISSENTING OPINION OF JUDGE MATSCHER

(Translation)

In my partly dissenting opinion in the case of Le Compte, Van Leuven

and De Meyere (judgment of 23 June 1981, Series A no. 43, pp. 34-38),

I amply expounded the reasons that, to my regret, have led me to

dissociate myself from the conclusions of the majority of my

colleagues as regards the applicability of Article 6 para. 1

(art. 6-1) of the Convention to disciplinary cases in so far as

such cases might come within the notion of civil law matters for

the purposes of that Article (art. 6-1). The circumstances being

essentially the same in the present case, I cannot but re-affirm my

previous opinion, subject to recalling its basic features. Moreover,

the majority in the present case has in substance confined itself to

re-affirming the stance it adopted in the earlier case, without making

the slightest attempt to discuss or, even less, refute the contrary

arguments advanced against it.

I would observe in passing that with regard to the other issues

raised by the present case, consistently with the position I took

in the case of Le Compte, Van Leuven and De Meyere, I fully concur

with the unanimous conclusions of the Court.

I likewise reiterate my regret that the Court has not judged it

necessary to examine the case from the standpoint of criminal law.

The basic features of my dissenting opinion in the case of Le Compte,

Van Leuven and De Meyere were the following:

1. The applicants' right to practise medicine was neither the

object nor one of the objects of the disciplinary proceedings

instituted against them before the jurisdictional organs of the

Ordre and continued before the Court of Cassation. The exclusive

object of those proceedings (as indeed of disciplinary proceedings

in general) was to ascertain whether the applicants had broken

the medical profession's rules of professional conduct and, if

so, to impose on them the appropriate sanction. It was that sanction

alone which, in the particular circumstances, affected their

professional situation and which thereby had an indirect effect

on the private-law relationships that the applicants might have

established with their patients. But such relationships were

not at all in issue in the relevant disciplinary proceedings.

Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) of the Convention (under its "civil" head)

only covers proceedings having as their object "contestations"

(disputes) over "civil rights and obligations" ("all proceedings

the result of which is decisive for private rights and obligations",

to use the formula found in the Ringeisen judgment), whereas the

mere fact that the outcome of proceedings might have an indirect

effect on such a right does not suffice to bring those proceedings

within the category of those contemplated by Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1).

2. Nor, in the instant case, was there a "contestation" (dispute)

over a civil right. The Court's judgment leaves out of account

the proceedings before the Provincial Council, which had imposed

a specific sanction on the applicants, and considers the contestation

(dispute) to have "arisen" as a result of the fact that the applicants

challenged the first-instance decision by appealing against it

(see paragraph 34, first sub-paragraph). Such reasoning is based

on a complete misconception of the purpose of appeal proceedings.

In point of fact, the object and nature of a case (or a

contestation/dispute) do not change with the various levels of

jurisdiction, independently of the arguments, grounds and claims

put forward on appeal: if the proceedings before the Provincial

Council did not have as their object the determination of a

contestation (dispute) over civil rights and obligations, it could

not be otherwise in regard to the proceedings before the Appeals

Council and the Court of Cassation. In other words, the "contestation"

(dispute) formed the object of those proceedings, or was irrelevant

thereto, from the very outset; it could not "arise" (see

paragraph 34, first sub-paragraph of the judgment) on appeal or

during the cassation proceedings.

3. The judgment, in an endeavour to limit its scope, confines

itself to holding that the right to exercise the medical profession

as a doctor in private practice comes within the ambit of the rights

protected by Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1). For my part, I do not see

any rational possibility for distinguishing, in this respect, between

the right to exercise the medical profession as a doctor in private

practice and the right to exercise the profession as a civil servant

in a public health service or as a salaried employee, and between

the right to practise medicine in general and the right to exercise

any other profession. If an assertion is true, it ought to be

capable of generalisation, or, to be more precise, if my conclusion

is correct, it ought to be valid not only for the particular case

but also for all situations where the same basic premises exist.

The conclusion to be drawn could only be the following: the right

to practise any profession whatsoever is included amongst the rights

protected by Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1). Can the authors of the

Convention really have framed Article 6 (art. 6) in such a way?

I am inclined to believe that in making such an affirmation the

Court is going beyond the limits of an "evolutive" interpretation

of the Convention, which is especially appropriate when the Convention

employs general and undefined terms (for example, "necessary in

a democratic society") such as are capable of being interpreted

in line with the evolution of social conceptions in the member

countries.

Furthermore, the fact that the judgment holds back from clearly

stating this conclusion - the only conclusion that appears consistent

when reasoning from its basic premises - but prefers to leave the

matter vague leads to legal uncertainty, which is especially serious

in the face of situations and problems that are ever present in

all the member States.

4. Finally, the result of the judgment is to find a breach because

of the absence of publicity in the cases, cases where the

procedural-guarantee purpose that Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) serves in

requiring public hearings and public pronouncement of judgment was in

no way at stake (hence a finding of breach for a purely formal

infringement of the provisions of Article 6 para. 1) (art. 6-1); this

constitutes for me a further reason for asserting that Article 6

(art. 6) of the Convention does not apply to the cases in question.

PARTLY DISSENTING OPINION OF

JUDGE PINHEIRO FARINHA

(Translation)

To my great regret, I cannot share the opinion which my colleagues

forming the majority have expressed concerning Article 6 (art. 6)

of the European Convention on Human Rights.

In fact:

1. The private-law relations established by Dr. Albert and

Dr. Le Compte with their clients were not discussed before the

disciplinary organs of the Ordre.

2. The contestation (dispute) before the disciplinary organs

(Provincial and Appeals Councils) and then before the Court of

Cassation bore solely on questions of professional conduct, and

this is a matter that falls outside the ambit of civil law.

3. The applicants' case concerns exclusively the violation of

the rules of professional conduct and it follows, in my judgment,

that Article 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) is inapplicable (as I have already

stated in my separate opinion in the case of Le Compte, Van Leuven

and De Meyere).

4. In conclusion, I consider that there has been no violation

of Articles 3, 6 or 11 (art. 3, art. 6, art. 11) of the Convention.

PARTLY DISSENTING OPINION OF

JUDGE SIR VINCENT EVANS

I agree with the judgment of the Court that there was no violation

of Article 3 (art. 3) or of Article 11 (art. 11) of the Convention.

I regret, however, that I disagree with the conclusion of the majority

of the Court that Article 6 (art. 6) was violated. For the reasons

already stated in my dissenting opinion in the case of Le Compte,

Van Leuven and De Meyere and which it is therefore unnecessary

to repeat, it is my view that Article 6 (art. 6) is not applicable

in the present case because the proceedings complained of by the

applicants were not concerned with the determination either of civil

rights or obligations or of a criminal charge within the meaning

of Article 6 (art. 6).



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