30 November 2006
This judgment will become final in the circumstances set out in Article 44 § 2 of the Convention. It may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of Gaischeg v. Slovenia,
The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Mr J. Hedigan, President,
Mr B.M. Zupančič,
Mr C. Bîrsan,
Mrs A. Gyulumyan,
Mr E. Myjer,
Mr David Thór Björgvinsson,
Mrs I. Berro-Lefevre, judges,
and V. Berger, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 9 November 2006,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
1. The background of the case
2. The first set of proceedings
On 1 January 1995 the Maribor Local Court (Okrajno sodišče v Mariboru) gained jurisdiction in the present case due to the reform of the Slovenian judicial system.
On 26 April 1996 the applicants lodged preliminary written submissions.
On 23 May 1996 the court held a hearing and heard witnesses.
On 30 January 1997 the court dismissed the applicant's request because the applicants failed to prove that the impugned contract had been made under duress.
On 13 May 1997 the court dismissed the appeal as unfounded.
On 25 March 1998 the court dismissed the appeal as unfounded. The decision was served on the applicant on 27 May 1998.
On 21 January 2002 the court declared the application inadmissible as out of time.
3. The second set of proceedings
On 7 July 1994 the court held a hearing and decided to appoint the Ljubljana University Clinic Centre to deliver an expert opinion regarding the applicant's injuries. The opinion was delivered in six months.
On 19 December 1995 the court held another hearing and requested the appointed expert institution to amend its opinion.
On 1 January 1995 the Maribor Distric Court (OkroZno sodišče v Mariboru) gained jurisdiction in the present case due to the reform of the Slovenian judicial system.
On 11 June 1996 the court terminated the proceedings against the insurance company following the applicant's withdrawal of the claim against this party.
On 26 August 1996 the applicant submitted preliminary written observations and raised her claim.
During the proceedings, the court appointed two more medical experts.
At the hearing held on 5 June 1997 the court requested one of the appointed experts to deliver an additional opinion.
On 16 June and 17 September 1998 the court held hearings. At the last hearing the court issued a judgment upholding the applicant's claim in part.
At an undetermined time in 2000, the Maribor Higher Court set aside the first-instance court's judgment and remitted the case for re-examination.
On 9 July 2002 the court allowed the appeals in part and increased the amount of damages awarded.
On 11 December 2003 the court dismissed the appeal on points of law.
On 9 January 2003 the court allowed the enforcement and the amounts due were paid to the applicant on 30 January 2003.
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 1 OF PROTOCOL No. 1 TAKEN ALONE AND IN CONJUNCTION WITH ARTICLE 14 OF THE CONVENTION
“Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law [...]”
“The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in [the] Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.”
It follows that all applicants' complaints concerning the impugned contract must be declared incompatible ratione temporis with the provisions of the Convention. They must therefore be rejected in accordance with Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention.
II. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLES 6 § 1 AND 13 OF THE CONVENTION
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ..., everyone is entitled to a hearing within a reasonable time by [a] ... tribunal...”
“Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in [the] Convention are violated shall have an effective remedy before a national authority notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity.”
1. Article 6 § 1
There has accordingly been a breach of Article 6 § 1.
2. Article 13
II. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION
“If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party concerned allows only partial reparation to be made, the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.”
B. Costs and expenses
The Court observes that, in the present case, the applicant had no legal representation in the proceedings before the Court. Nevertheless, regard being had to the information in its possession and the above criteria, the Court considers it reasonable to award the applicant the sum of EUR 150 for the proceedings before the Court.
C. Default interest
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY
(a) that the respondent State is to pay the first applicant, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, EUR 2,000 (two thousand euros) in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 150 (one hundred and fifty euros) in respect of costs and expenses, plus any tax that may be chargeable;
(b) that from the expiry of the above-mentioned three months until settlement simple interest shall be payable on the above amounts at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points.
Done in English, and notified in writing on 30 November 2006, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Berger John Hedigan