(Application no. 33024/02)
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 Čakš 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:
On 28 June 1994 the Convention took effect with respect to Slovenia.
On 12 September 1994 the court allowed the execution.
On 16 September 1994 OZTN opposed the execution order and on 21 October 1994 requested that the execution be adjourned.
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 19 May 1995 the applicant partially withdrew his action for enforcement because OZTN had paid its debt in part. At the same time he sought payment of additional unpaid salaries.
On 25 August 1995 OZTN amended its objection.
The court scheduled a hearing for 21 October 1997, but OZTN and its legal representative failed to appear before the court. Therefore, the court adjourned the hearing until 4 November 1997. This hearing was held and then adjourned to give the parties the opportunity to settle the case outside the court.
The court held a new hearing on 4 December 1997 which was adjourned until 27 January 1998 because OZTN failed to attend. On the latter date the heading was cancelled. It was adjourned sine die because the judge presiding over the case was absent.
On 11 February 1998 the applicant lodged preliminary written submissions.
On 22 December 1998 the court held a hearing and decided to appoint a financial expert to determine the amount due. The court also made an enquiry with the tax authorities.
On 19 January 1998 the applicant informed the court that he had paid the advance on costs and expenses of the expert. On 10 March and 19 July 1999 he urged the court to appoint the expert as decided on 22 December 1998.
On 31 August 1999 the applicant lodged a request for an injunction to prevent OZTN to sell its property, which was rejected on 9 November 1999.
On 28 September 1999 the court held a hearing. OZTN explained that it had not paid its share of the advance on costs and expenses of the expert because it hoped that an out-of-court settlement would be reached in the case.
On 13 October 1999 OZTN submitted a proposal for a friendly settlement.
On 11 November 1999 the applicant, upon retaining a new representative, rejected OZTN's offer.
On 22 November 1999 OZTN informed the court that it had paid the advance on costs and expenses of the expert.
On 9 March 2000 the court appointed a financial expert. Initially, she informed the court that she could not take over the production of an expert opinion due to too much work, but she subsequently submitted an expert opinion in this case. On 23 January 2001 the opinion was served on the applicant.
In the meanwhile, on 20 January 2000, the applicant requested the court to speed up the proceedings.
On 17 May 2001 the case was transferred to a new judge for an unknown reason.
On 16 August 2001 the applicant informed the court that he had no objections to the expert opinion and requested the court to decide the case.
On 28 November 2001 and again on 28 March 2003 OZTN requested the court to refer the applicant to institute contentious proceedings in order to establish his claim. On 10 September 2002 it requested the court to decide the case and the following day lodged a request for supervision.
On 13 September 2002 the court established that the applicant's motion for enforcement was not in order and requested the applicant to amend it accordingly.
On 26 September 2002 the applicant amended his motion.
On 7 April 2003 the court sought some evidence from the Employment Office of the Republic of Slovenia and received it on 16 April 2003.
On 5 May 2003 the case was transferred to a new judge for an unknown reason.
On 9 May 2003 the applicant applied for leave to amend the order sought. He asked the court to allow the enforcement by way of selling the defendant's real estate. He also requested that a date be set for a hearing.
On 15 March 2004 the court requested the applicant to amend his appeal for leave as required by the law.
On 17 March 2004 the applicant lodged a request for supervision with the aim of speeding up of the proceedings, but to no avail.
On 22 March 2004 the court terminated the enforcement proceedings in part because the applicant had partially withdrawn his action for enforcement on 19 May 1995. The court also referred OZTN to institute proceedings within thirty days in order to establish the inadmissibility of the enforcement.
On 5 November 2004 the court dismissed the appeal.
The court apparently stayed the enforcement proceedings awaiting the outcome of the contentious proceedings.
The proceedings are still pending.
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. 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. Pecuniary damage
Accordingly, the Court rejects the applicant's claim under this head.
B. Non-pecuniary damage
C. Costs and expenses
D. 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 9,600 (nine thousand six hundred euros) in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 100 (one hundred 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