Key facts of the case:
The applicant, Ms K.M.C., is a Hungarian national who was born in 1973 and lives in Pécel (Hungary). A civil servant in an administrative inspectorate, she was dismissed by her employer in September 2010 without explanation, it being possible at the time – under Act no. LVIII of 2010 on the Legal Status of Government Officials – to dismiss civil servants without giving any specific reason. Ms K.M.C. did not complain about her dismissal before the Hungarian courts: given that she could not contest the reasons for her dismissal in court, there being none to contest, she thought she stood no chance of winning. In February 2011 the relevant section under Act no. LVIII was annulled as unconstitutional. The Constitutional Court partly based that decision on the European Court’s relevant case-law, also largely in line with the spirit of other European law, namely the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights as well as the revised European Social Charter, which provide that every worker has the right to protection against unjustified dismissal.
18. The European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights provides as follows:
Article 30 – Protection in the event of unjustified dismissal: “Every worker has the right to protection against unjustified dismissal, in accordance with Union law and national laws and practices.”
According to the Explanations relating to the Charter of Fundamental Rights [2007/C 303/02)], Article 30 draws on Article 24 of the revised European Social Charter.
34. In the particular case, the Court observes that the applicant as a former government official dismissed from service was in principle entitled to challenge that dismissal in court. However, since the employer was under no obligation to give any reasons for that dismissal, the Court takes the view that it is inconceivable for the applicant to have brought a meaningful action, for want of any known position of the respondent employer. For the Court, this legal constellation amounts to depriving the impugned right of action of all substance. The Court also notes that the Constitutional Court, whose approach was partly based on the Court’s relevant case-law, annulled the underlying domestic provision for, among others, similar considerations (see paragraph 16 above), largely in line with the spirit of the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights (see paragraph 18 above) and the revised European Social Charter (see paragraph 19 above).