(Application no. 32664/96)
19 April 2001
In the case of M.P. and Others v. Italy,
The European Court of Human Rights (Second Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Mr C.L. ROZAKIS, President,
Mr A.B. BAKA,
Mr G. BONELLO,
Mr P. LORENZEN,
Mrs M. TSATSA-NIKOLOVSKA,
Mr E. LEVITS,
Mr A. KOVLER, judges,
and Mr E. FRIBERGH, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 5 April 2001,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
1. The case originated in an application (no. 32664/96) against Italy lodged with the European Commission of Human Rights (“the Commission”) under former Article 25 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by Italian nationals, Mr M.P., Mrs M.P. and Mr M.P. (“the applicants”), on 24 July 1996.
2. The applicants acted in person. The Italian Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mr U. Leanza, and by their co-agent, Mr V. Esposito.
3. The applicants complained about their prolonged inability - through lack of police assistance - to recover possession of their apartment and about the duration of the eviction proceedings.
4. On 7 September 2000, after obtaining the parties’ observations, the Court declared the application admissible.
5. On 10 March 2001 and on 5 March 2001, the applicants and the Agent of the Government respectively submitted formal declarations proposing a friendly settlement of the case.
6. Mrs C.B.P. was the owner of an apartment in Florence, which she had let to M.R. In a registered letter of 6 June 1983, Mrs C.B.P informed the tenant that she intended to terminate the lease on expiry of the term on 31 December 1983 and asked him to vacate the premises by that date. In a writ served on the tenant on 30 November 1983, she reiterated her intention to terminate the lease and summoned the tenant to appear before the Florence Magistrate.
7. By a decision of 20 December 1983, which was made enforceable on 28 February 1984, the Florence Magistrate upheld the validity of the notice to quit and ordered that the premises be vacated by 31 December 1984. On 13 March 1986, Mrs C.B.P served notice on the tenant requiring him to vacate the premises.
8. On 9 May 1986, the applicants, heirs of Mrs C.B.P, who had died in the meantime, served notice on the tenant informing him that the order for possession would be enforced by a bailiff on 12 June 1986.
9. Between 12 June 1986 and 15 September 1994, the bailiff made 17 attempts to recover possession. These attempts proved unsuccessful, as, under the statutory provisions providing for the suspension or the staggering of evictions, the applicants were not entitled to police assistance in enforcing the order for possession.
10. On 29 April 1995, the applicants served notice on the tenant requiring him again to vacate the premises.
11. On 24 May 1995, they served notice on the tenant informing him that the order for possession would be enforced by a bailiff on 23 June 1995.
12. Between 23 June 1995 and 24 May 1999, the bailiff made 9 attempts to recover possession. Each attempt proved unsuccessful, as, under the statutory provisions providing for the staggering of evictions, the applicants were not entitled to police assistance in enforcing the order for possession.
13. The proceedings are still pending. The applicants have not recovered possession of their apartment to date.
14. On 5 March 2001, the Court received the following declaration from the Government:
“I declare that the Government of Italy offer to pay a sum totalling 65,000,000 ITL to be distributed among Mr M.P., Mrs M.P. and Mr M.P. with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the application registered under no. 32664/96. This sum shall cover any pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage as well as costs, and it will be payable immediately after the notification of the judgment delivered by the Court pursuant to Article 39 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This payment will constitute the final resolution of the case.
This declaration does not entail any acknowledgement by the Government of a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights in the present case.
The Government further undertake not to request the reference of the case to the Grand Chamber under Article 43 § 1 of the Convention.”
15. On 10 March 2001, the Court received the following declaration signed by the applicants:
“We note that the Government of Italy are prepared to pay us a sum totalling 65,000,000 ITL to be distributed among us covering both pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage and costs with a view to securing a friendly settlement of application no. 32664/96 pending before the Court.
We accept the proposal and waive any further claims in respect of Italy relating to the facts of this application. We declare that the case is definitely settled.
This declaration is made in the context of a friendly settlement which the Government and the applicants have reached.
We further undertake not to request the reference of the case to the Grand Chamber under Article 43 § 1 of the Convention after the delivery of the Court’s judgment.”
16. The Court takes note of the agreement reached between the parties (Article 39 of the Convention). It is satisfied that the settlement is based on respect for human rights as defined in the Convention or its Protocols (Article 37 § 1 in fine of the Convention and Rule 62 § 3 of the Rules of Court).
17. Accordingly, the case should be struck out of the list.
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY
1. Decides to strike the case out of the list;
2. Takes note of the parties’ undertaking not to request a rehearing of the case before the Grand Chamber.
Done in English, and notified in writing on 19 April 2001 pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Erik FRIBERGH Christos ROZAKIS