(Application no. 19567/02)
2 November 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 Matica v. Romania,
The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Mr J. Hedigan,
Mr C. Bîrsan,
Mr V. Zagrebelsky,
Mrs A. Gyulumyan,
Mr David Thór Björgvinsson,
Mrs I. Ziemele, judges,
and Mr V. Berger, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 12 October 2006,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
Of the fourteen hearing held between 14 October 1993 and 27 October 1994, ten were adjourned for the absence of witnesses or of the expert reports, one at the first applicant’s request in order to hire a lawyer and one for deliberations.
In a decision of 27 October 1994, the Beiuş District Court remitted to the Oradea Court of Appeal the complaint concerning the nullity of the property deed issued to third parties, and stayed the examination of the other complaints until the validity of the property deed would be decided by the appropriate courts.
The Beiuş District Court dismissed all the complaints formulated by the applicants, in a judgment of 16 July 1998. All parties appealed.
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 Government pointed out that the period to be taken into account for the first applicant began to run on 20 June 1994, when Romania ratified the Convention, whereas for the other applicants it started on 9 February 2000, when they joined the proceedings. Relying on the case of Farcaş and others v. Romania (no. 67020/01, § 30, 10 November 2005), they concluded that the Court should examine separately their situation.
Bearing in mind what was at stake for the applicants, the Government considered that they had not suffered any damage as a result of the delays in the proceedings. Lastly, they recalled that no periods of total inactivity had occurred, and concluded that the authorities had been diligent.
The period in question ended on 3 December 2001. It thus lasted seven years, five months and thirteen days for three levels of jurisdiction. Ten courts heard the case throughout this period.
There has accordingly been a breach of Article 6 § 1.
II. OTHER ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF THE CONVENTION
III. 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 surviving applicant, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, EUR 4,200 (four thousand two hundred euros) in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 500 (five 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 2 November 2006, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Vincent Berger Boštjan M. Zupančič