(Application no. 6841/02)
7 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 Virjent 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 V. Zagrebelsky,
Mrs A. Gyulumyan,
Mr E. Myjer,
Mrs I. Ziemele,
Mrs I. Berro-Lefevre, judges,
and Mr V. Berger, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 16 November 2006,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
1. Non-contentious proceedings
On 22 October and 25 March 1993 the court held a hearing where the parties settled the case in part. For the remainder of the property at issue, the court established that there was a dispute over its ownership.
On 22 October 1993 the court issued a decision referring the applicant to institute contentious civil proceedings against A.N. in order to determine the ownership of the garage (see below paragraphs 8 through 11). At the same time, the court ordered A.N. to institute contentious civil proceedings against the applicant to establish the size of his share in the apartment the parties owned jointly.
On 28 June 1994 the Convention entered into force with respect to Slovenia.
On 1 January 1995 the Ljubljana Local Court (Okrajno sodišče v Ljubljani) gained jurisdiction in the present case due to the reform of the Slovenian judicial system.
At an undetermined time, but after 9 February 2000, the Ljubljana Local Court scheduled a hearing in the non-contentious proceedings for 25 May 2001.
On 24 May 2001 the applicant informed the court that the parties had settled the remainder of the case and withdrew her proposal of 7 August 1992. Consequently, the court terminated the proceedings on 25 May 2001.
The decision was served on the applicant on 28 May 2001 and became final on 19 June 2001.
2. Contentious proceedings
On 1 January 1995 the Ljubljana District Court (OkroZno sodišče v Ljubljani) gained jurisdiction in the present case due to the reform of the Slovenian judicial system.
On 13 June 1995 the applicant instituted proceedings against A.N. in the Ljubljana District Court seeking equal share of their common apartment.
On 21 October 1996 the applicant requested priority treatment for her case.
On 28 November 1996 the applicant requested the court to issue an interlocutory measure prohibiting A.N. to encumber or give up the apartment.
On 5 December 1996, upon the request of A.N., the Ljubljana District Court joined both sets of proceedings and issued the interlocutory measure sought by the applicant.
On 24 January 1997 the applicant again sought priority treatment for her case. On 11 February 1997 the court informed her that her case did not require a priority treatment.
Between 26 March 1997 and 12 November 1997 the court held five hearings. It heard ten witnesses and both parties.
On 19 December 1997 the court held a hearing where the parties settled the case in part. The court issued a judgment holding that the applicant owned thirty per cent of the apartment and A.N. the rest. It also ordered A.N. to pay rent to the applicant for the time he had been using the apartment. The judgment was served on the applicant on 15 January 1998.
On 2 March and 15 June 1998 the applicant filed a request to speed up the proceedings. On 2 July 1998 the court informed the applicant that her case was not a matter of priority.
On 25 November 1998 the court allowed the appeals in part, found that the applicant and A.N. owned the apartment in equal shares and remitted the case in the part referring to payment of rent to the first-instance court for re-examination. The judgment was served on the applicant on 17 December 1998.
On 11 November 1999 the court dismissed the appeal.
The judgment was served on the applicant on 5 January 2000.
I. 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. Admissibility of the non-contentious proceedings
a) Article 6 § 1
Accordingly, this complaint should be rejected within the meaning of Article 34 §§ 4 and 5 of the Convention.
b) Article 13
Accordingly, this complaint is manifestly ill-founded and must be declared inadmissible in the meaning of Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention.
2. Admissibility of the contentious proceedings (Article 6 § 1)
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.”
A. Non-pecuniary damage
B. Costs and expenses
Accordingly, in the present case, 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 1,000 for the proceedings before the Court.
C. Default interest
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY
(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicant, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, EUR 1,000 (one thousand euros) in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 1,000 (one thousand 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;
5. Dismisses the remainder of the applicant's claim for just satisfaction.
Done in English, and notified in writing on 7 December 2006, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Berger John Hedigan