(Application no. 14852/03)
21 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 Gluhar v. Slovenia,
The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Mr C. Bîrsan,
Mr B.M. Zupančič,
Mr V. Zagrebelsky,
Mrs A. Gyulumyan,
Mr David Thór Björgvinsson,
Mrs I. Ziemele,
Mrs I. Berro-Lefèvre, judges,
and Mr V. Berger, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 30 November 2006,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
1. Denationalisation proceedings
On 26 March 2003 the Supreme Court (Vrhovno sodišče RS) rejected the appeal.
On 22 December 2003 the Ljubljana Administrative Unit declared the denationalisation decision of 1 June 1994 void and ordered that the previous ownership regarding the real estate in question be entered into the Land Registry. The request for denationalisation of 8 March 1993 was sent to the competent department of the Ljubljana Administrative Unit which was expected to decide on the request.
On 10 June 2004 the same court rejected the applicant's objection.
On 8 December 2004 the Ljubljana Higher Court (Višje sodišče v Ljubljani) rejected the applicant's appeal. The decision was served on the applicant on 27 December 2004.
2. Inheritance proceedings
On 6 March 2001 and 25 March 2002, respectively, two apparent relatives submitted an application to join the inheritance proceedings.
A hearing was held on 7 October 2002.
On 20 April 2004 the court requested the applicant to pay fees for the appeal.
The proceedings are 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
a) Period to be taken into consideration
The Court does not consider it necessary to establish the starting point as concerns the length of the denationalisation proceedings (see paragraph 31 above). The Court however notes that there is no indication in the case-file that, in the denationalisation proceedings, a final decision has been issued insofar.
b) The reasonableness of the length of the proceedings
As to the denationalisation proceedings, the Government submitted that the case was a complex one and that certain delays could be attributed to the reorganization of the administrative judicial system (upravno sodstvo) in 2000.
As to the argument based on the reorganization of the administrative judicial system, it must not be forgotten that Article 6 § 1 imposes on the Contracting States the duty to organise their judicial systems in such a way that their courts can meet each of its requirements (see, among many other authorities, the Tusa v. Italy, judgment of 27 February 1992, Series A no. 231-D, p. 41, § 17).
37. The Court notes that the inheritance proceedings have lasted for more than nine years and ten months which is a considerable length of time. Such length is excessive all the more in view of the fact that the proceedings were discontinued awaiting the conclusion of denationalisation proceedings. The latter are again pending before the first-instance administrative authorities.
The Court considers that the conduct of the applicant or the complexity of the legal and factual issues, including the denationalisation proceedings, cannot justify such a length.
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
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 3,200 (three thousand two hundred euros) in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 600 (six 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;
Done in English, and notified in writing on 21 December 2006, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Vincent Berger Corneliu Bîrsan