(Application no. 77690/01)
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 Solárová and Others 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 L. Garlicki,
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 the action of 27 November 1998
B. Constitutional proceedings
1. Complaint of the third applicant
2. Complaint of the first and the second applicants
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ..., everyone is entitled to a fair ... hearing within a reasonable time by [a] ... tribunal...”
1. As regards the alleged unfairness of the proceedings and lack of independence of a judge
2. As regards the length of the proceedings
In its judgment given on 22 June 2005 the Constitutional Court awarded the first and the second applicants, who are spouses, sums corresponding in total to approximately 780 euros. That amount represents 18.6 per cent of what the Court would be likely to award them in respect of the period considered by the Constitutional Court.
As regards the judgment given on the third applicant’s complaint on 9 June 2004, nearly 12 months passed before the District Court delivered its second judgment in the case on 20 June 2005. Prior to that the District Court had held a single hearing, on 27 April 2005, and the file had been submitted to a police authority and remained with the latter for 1 month and 11 days. Taking into account the above facts, the Court considers that, despite the Constitutional Court’s order, the District Court did not display the required diligence between 9 June 2004 and the delivery of its second judgment on 20 June 2005.
As regards the first and the second applicants, the Constitutional Court gave its judgment on 22 June 2005. Subsequently, no delays imputable to the District Court occurred.
II. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 1 OF PROTOCOL No. 1
“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 preceding provisions shall not, however, in any way impair the right of a State to enforce such laws as it deems necessary to control the use of property in accordance with the general interest or to secure the payment of taxes or other contributions or penalties.”
III. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 13 OF THE CONVENTION
“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.”
IV. 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.”
The Court also awards the third applicant EUR 700 for the further delay in the proceedings before the District Court following the delivery of the Constitutional Court’s judgment of 9 June 2004 (see paragraph 50 above).
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 the following sums to be converted into the currency of the respondent State at the rate applicable at the date of settlement:
(i) EUR 1,100 (one thousand one hundred euros) to the first and the second applicants jointly in respect of non-pecuniary damage;
(ii) EUR 1,900 (one thousand nine hundred euros) to the third applicant in respect of non-pecuniary damage;
(iii) EUR 500 (five hundred euros) to all three applicants jointly in respect of costs and expenses;
(iv) any tax that may be chargeable on the above amounts;
(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 SKK15,000 was the equivalent of approximately 375 euros at that time.
2 SKK 15,000 was the equivalent of approximately 390 euros at that time.