(Application no. 17709/04)
5 December 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 Tomláková v. Slovakia,
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Sir Nicolas Bratza, President,
Mr J. Casadevall,
Mr M. Pellonpää,
Mr K. Traja,
Mr S. Pavlovschi,
Ms L. Mijović,
Mr J. Šikuta, judges,
and Mr T.L. Early, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 14 November 2006,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
A. Proceedings concerning paternity and maintenance
The appeal is still pending.
B. Constitutional complaint
The Constitutional Court observed that it had jurisdiction ratione temporis to consider only the period after 15 February 1993 when the Constitutional Court had been established. Nevertheless, it took into account the state of the proceedings at that time.
The Constitutional Court held that the case was not legally complex. However, the international element and the difficulty of assessing the evidence involved certain complexities. No substantial delays were imputable to the applicants and what was at stake for them called for special diligence. The conduct of the District Court was inefficient and uncoordinated and there were the following periods of inactivity on its part: from 26 August 1993 to 27 September 1995; from 27 September 1995 to 5 February 1998; from 5 February 1998 to 29 April 1999; and from 22 November 2000 to 14 September 2001.
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 § 1 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...”
The period in question has not yet ended. It has thus lasted more than 14 years and 6 months for 2 levels of jurisdiction.
There has accordingly been a breach of Article 6 § 1.
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
C. Default interest
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY
(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicants, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, jointly EUR 4,000 (four thousand euros) in respect of non-pecuniary damage and jointly EUR 662 (six hundred and sixty two euros) in respect of costs and expenses, the above amounts to be converted into the currency of the respondent State at the rate applicable at the date of settlement, 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 5 December 2006, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
T.L. Early Nicolas Bratza
1 SKK 5,000 is equivalent to approximately 130 euros (EUR).
2 SKK 25,000 is equivalent to approximately EUR 660.
3 SKK 4,000 is equivalent to approximately EUR 105.
1 SKK 1,000,000 is equivalent to approximately EUR 26,300.
2 SKK 50,000 is equivalent to approximately EUR 1,300.
3 SKK 70,000 is equivalent to approximately EUR 1,850.