31 May 2001
In the case of Colangelo 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,
Mrs V. STRáZNICKá,
Mr P. LORENZEN,
Mr M. FISCHBACH,
Mr E. LEVITS, judges,
and Mr E. FRIBERGH, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 10 May 2001,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
1. The case originated in an application (no. 29671/96) 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 an Italian national, Mrs Maria Colangelo (“the applicant”), on 16 November 1995.
2. The applicant was represented by Mr C. Pirola a lawyer practising in Milan. The Italian Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mr U. Leanza, and by their co-agent, Mr V. Esposito.
3. The applicant complained about her prolonged inability - through lack of police assistance - to recover possession of her apartment and about the duration of the eviction proceedings.
4. On 7 December 2000, after obtaining the parties’ observations, the Court declared the application admissible.
5. On 9 March 2001 and on 28 March 2001, the applicant’s representative and the Agent of the Government respectively submitted formal declarations proposing a friendly settlement of the case.
6. The applicant is the owner of an apartment in Milan, which she had let to R.F. In a registered letter of 28 April 1986, the applicant informed the tenant that she intended to terminate the lease on expiry of the term on 31 December 1987 and asked her to vacate the premises by that date.
7. In a writ served on the tenant on 15 October 1986, the applicant reiterated her intention to terminate the lease and summoned the tenant to appear before the Milan Magistrate.
8. By a decision of 15 October 1986, which was made enforceable on 20 October 1986, the Milan Magistrate upheld the validity of the notice to quit and ordered that the premises must be vacated by 15 October 1988. On 23 August 1989, the applicant served notice on the tenant requiring her to vacate the premises.
9. On 15 September 1989, she served notice on the tenant informing her that the order for possession would be enforced by a bailiff on 20 October 1989.
10. Between 20 October 1989 and 26 June 1992, the bailiff made 14 attempts to recover possession. Each attempt proved unsuccessful, as the applicant was never granted the assistance of the police in enforcing the order for possession.
11. On 1 October 1992, the applicant made a statutory declaration that she urgently required the premises as accommodation for her son.
12. Between 16 October 1992 and 9 May 1996, the bailiff made 15 attempts to recover possession. Each attempt proved unsuccessful, as the applicant was never granted the assistance of the police in enforcing the order for possession.
13. On 26 September 1996, the applicant repossessed her apartment.
14. On 28 March 2001, the Court received the following declaration from the Government:
“I declare that the Government of Italy offer to pay 29,215,285 ITL to Mrs Maria Colangelo with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the application registered under no. 29671/96. This sum shall cover any pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage (24,215,285 ITL) as well as costs (5,000,000 ITL), 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 9 March 2001, the Court received from the applicant’s representative the following declaration signed by the applicant:
“I note that the Government of Italy are prepared to pay a sum totalling 29,215,285 ITL covering both pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage and costs to Mrs Maria Colangelo, with a view to securing a friendly settlement of application no. 29671/96 pending before the Court.
I accept the proposal and waive any further claims in respect of Italy relating to the facts of this application. I declare that the case is definitely settled.
This declaration is made in the context of a friendly settlement which the Government and the applicant have reached.
I 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 31 May 2001 pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Erik FRIBERGH Christos ROZAKIS